Category: Employee Engagement (Page 1 of 3)

Businesses Can Balance AI, Robotics & Humanity!

Getting Agreement

Agreement

AI, Robotics and Humanity is a critical topic of discussion today! Several dangerous trends are occurring in business today. For example, in the last fifty years’ enterprise companies have started to disappear at an alarming rate. The average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has gone from more than 50 years to less than 16 years and dropping every year.

Automation in the form of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics are threatening to take a massive number of jobs. Organizations such as theguardian.com, NBC News, CNN and others have predicted that we will see 5 million + jobs being replaced by automation by 2020-2021.  That’s is only 4 years away.

Even more critical is that AI is now opening the door to machine replacement in areas such as writing, insurance, law and medicine that have until now been considered untouchable by automation.  Now this it true but there are some serious caveats to this type of replacement which may slow this area down but it will not stop it.

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5 Culture Movements That Are Permeating Your Company

Since well before the start of the Industrial Age, companies have existed by a command and control leadership culture model and hunkered themselves down behind corporate walls of silence.  It worked well, in many peoples minds, until we entered the Internet Age.  Since then there have been a number of movements that have affected that structure and they are actually starting to change those antiquated processes and rules.  Now, some will say this is a disruptive change that is not a good movement however this author believes it is the next evolution of the global business world.  We are going to look at five of those movements so you can see how well you have adapted your company or not!

As we progress through this period we must realize that many companies have a major disconnect between their brand, business, marketing and contemporary culture.  These companies must learn how to use the re-connection as a lever to increase their brand, business and marketing.  Our companies are no longer islands unto themselves, able to drive demand of customers and command employees without respect and a global passion for doing the right thing at the right time with the right people.

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Major Challenge in Business: The Future of Leadership

Global EngagementIn my opinion, the future of leadership is always changing and it will continue to change. However, it’s human nature, that we often want to categorize everything and everyone into small, manageable boxes subject to fixed rules and processes.

It is also evident in businesses today that we are dealing with short-term thinking, a disposable view of people as assets and the persistent drive of leadership self-preservation. We seem to have devalued people, relationships and values down to simple dollars and cents which never works, if you are looking for a sustainable business.

It gets further complicated when we see the rate of change & complexity increasing daily and the challenges faced by every individual and organization are morphing, evolving and becoming more interdependent than ever before.

Today, I feel comfortable saying that successful leadership is a hybrid of art & science with no hope of a one size fits all solution.

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Rumors, Gossip & Fake News, Oh No!

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Unfortunately, we have developed into a society where rumors and gossip often provide convenient tools for both competitive recruiting as well as manipulation of workers. “False News” is major contention in political and business circles today and we are preoccupied with sound bite mayhem and death by innuendo.

While social media is often maligned for these issues, it only helps to propagate, it is not the cause nor is it the generator of the derogatory material, it must originate with a human being, i.e. leader, employee, customer or competitor.

Leadership is generally at the forefront of this very destructive and corrosive process when it starts. I recently commented to someone and firmly believe, “there is NO leadership model in existence that will allow you to avoid relational conflict” and this is one of those areas.

This means that leadership sets the standards of what is acceptable and what is not so this is a critical part of culture that cannot be assigned or delegated. If leaders are using rumors to manipulate the workforce it should not come as a surprise with it turns into a firestorm.

Gossip Circles

Attribution Stuart Miles – FDP

For example, I just recently I tracked a single “Fake News” article that was a known hoax, yet it was re-tweeted over 500 times in less than 14 hours.  I didn’t even bother to check the other social media sites. If this is happening in the public arena what makes you think it can’t happen within your company?

Personally, in my somewhat Utopian corporate world, there is no place for falsehoods, rumors or gossip.

Workplace gossip and rumors can represent a destructive force among employees and customers. The rumors or gossip can be about management, company operations, product or service quality, suppliers, or other employees, any of them can spread virally.

So often, people will believe the rumor or gossip, even if it isn’t true, and pseudo truth can then spread to the customers, clients or the public, as well. While some may be harmless, it is always necessary to deal with rumors and gossip in the workplace immediately — before they spread out of control.

Here are some suggestions to deal with them:

1. Always Practice open communication with your employees.

Change in business is a part of life so this is particularly true if your company is planning or executing a major change or relocation.  Companies are most vulnerable when they are during major changes because of uncertainty so this aggravation does not need a lot of energy added to blow out of proportion.

It is only natural for employees to be fearful of change and how it will affect their jobs. However, when one person unintentionally or intentionally overhears something, then misconstrues what was said and finally winds up spreading a rumor that is not true the damage has begun.

Be authentic with employees, let them know what is going on so that there is no room for speculation and gossip. Don’t try to spin it or cover it with a lie because this will only intensify the impact.

2. Avoid an over-reaction.

When you hear, that employees are saying something that is not true, the natural reaction is to respond in some way. Many times, this may be in anger or frustration which only fuels the speculation of the employees.  Start by understanding that the source of the rumor may not be malicious, and it may be a simple misunderstanding. Always investigate and perform some level of analyses, then develop an appropriate response, if you don’t then the response will more than likely be in anger.

3. Be Proactive with damage control.

Damage Control

Damage Control Saves Dollars

If rumors in the workplace can flourish, they will eventually grow and possibly spread outside your company. When you hear of a rumor, be quick to clarify the actual situation and don’t brush it off as “typical employee talk.” Be proactive and act quickly before damage occurs, it is much easier and less costly in many areas.

4. Never encourage interoffice gossip or rumors.

Although these are typical human behaviors, particularly in situations where many different groups may be pushed together under the same roof, leadership should never allow or encourage harmful gossip and rumors.

Let your employees know you have a zero tolerance for malicious gossip and rumors.  Let them know that leadership will always investigate, analyze and determine objectively where the origination point is so the truth can be determined.

These zero tolerances, must be part of the company culture and DNA with swift action taken when discovered. There should be no bias in any part of the investigation.

5. Avoid lingering and nurturing rumors.

Failing to keep employees informed, generating spin, or hedging when confronted about company change, will usually result in a backlash on leadership. Even though you may not be ready to tell employees about an upcoming event, you need to set the record straight as quickly as possible if a rumor has started.

As leaders, employees and customers it is critical to keep your commitments or say no, there is no middle ground here. If you need help in this area, check out the PEER Commitment Management Platform at http://peersaas.com.

In summary,

These suggestions are starting points because each incident is unique to the individuals, organization, culture and time-frame.  Some instances you may let play out because they will expose themselves as falsehoods and die.

Other times, it will take an intervention to correct, adjust or defend, depending on how long leadership waited, how rational or irrational the creators of the material are and how determined the opposition is to disrupt.

The primary factor to remember is that with a culture of transparency, high integrity and openness the ability for rumors, gossip or “Fake News” to is diminished significantly. If everything in the organization is done behind closed doors and leaders seed the rumor mill, then the it is ripe for the rumor mill to run rampant.

Avoid anything that can allow someone to capture sound bites and take them out of context.  Make sure that the story you are telling people is the same at all levels, no more or no less to any level.

If you would like help with developing your proactive strategy to change, please feel free to check out my website at https://tlgcoach.com or call me at 630-454-4821.

How Do You Build a Coaching Based Organization?

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As a business coach, I am always open & excited to discuss building of a coaching based organization.  I truly believe that companies who empower people will advance and flourish in this VUCCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Chaotic, Complex & Ambiguous) world we live in today?

As a leader, you must really be committed to providing a vibrant and engaged environment for your employees and customers to make coaching work. While there are still certain types of organizations that may require the old authoritarian structure, I believe most can benefit from a more flexible, flatter organization, especially in the long-term.

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5 Critical Commitments for Successful Leadership Development

Today, I see companies paying lip service to leadership training and individuals ignoring the provided methods because they consider them antiquated and outdated.  It’s time for 21st Century concepts be applied to leadership development. Commitment is critical for growth..

Where do you stand on this subject.  Are your giving it lip service or are you intentional and proactive in making these priorities in your company?

I challenge every company who is struggling with this issue to make it a topic of discussion in every meeting.  Check out your competition and see what they are doing?  Set the bar high for yourself and your employees and you will reap the rewards.

Here are 5 commitments that I believe are critical, if you want your company to grow and prosper:

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How Do You Embrace Change?

Drive your own Best Practice

Thanks to Danilo Rizzuti & FDP

If you haven’t noticed, we live in an ever-changing world, personally, business and socially. I can’t guarantee much but I can guarantee that many things you are comfortable with today will change in the next 12 months. If you are a leader you are not only involved in change but you often initiate change so your ability to understand the impact of change is monumental.

Everything evolves, improves or devolves and disappears. We want things to get better as long as we don’t have to be inconvenienced or affected so there is the paradox. We can’t have it both ways! Therefore, I want to tackle a very controversial topic that everyone must deal with.

Examples of changes I have experienced:

Most major retailers today have introduced self-checkout but we continue to see long lines where there are two checkers and hardly anyone at the self-checkout machines. Each in the line is mumbling, “They should just hire more check-out people. I don’t want to use those”. Trust me, there will be more self-checkout machines and less checkers in years to come. I would even suggest we will see an order online and pick up at the store getting more press. I have embraced the changes and help people understand them better.

Growing up in Minnesota, we didn’t have TV until the early 50’s. We could only get 3 channels and NO remote control. Yes, it was Black & White only. Just when we were comfortable, color became the big rage so another change. In the 80’s we saw the introduction of cable with many channels available. Now, we began the struggle with what do we watch? Change but we prevailed. I embraced the changes how about you.

In 1977 I bought my first computer, it was a TRS 80 with 4K of ram and wrote to a cassette tape and I was excited. In 1981, after many computer upgrades, I began to travel the internet and that was exciting. You needed to have some background in UNIX to navigate it well but it was fun. Today, my iPhone is so superior to my first computer that it is immeasurable in terms of quantity and quality of experience. What’s wrong with change? Why do we resist something better?  Does your business embrace this change effectively?

In terms of work environments over the years, I have seen a move from a strong industrially based society to one with the emphasis on knowledge management. Management is evolving from command and control to collaborative leadership with an emphasis on transparency, authenticity and trust. Here we are seeing a lot of resistance, much of it due to fear. I continue to not only embrace but champion this change.

Are people who hate change or refuse to change fighting a losing battle? In my opinion, YES!

Personally, I believe change is hard-wired into our universe. Seasons are a perfect indicator, winter becomes spring, spring becomes summer, summer becomes fall and fall becomes winter. We often perceive that this year will move faster than previous years but it will move at the same pace chronologically. It is technology that is the accelerant, it makes things appear to happen faster, albeit instantaneously.

Here are some examples of current and future changes:

You can order almost any product or services from the privacy of your own home almost on a 24/7 basis. Now this has some good points and some negative points depending on your point of view. For example, brick & mortar retail has been forced to change from the primary distributor of goods to the provider of entertainment in the process of providing the same products or services. Finding a competitive advantage can be very elusive if you can’t think outside the box.

Physicians and other medical professionals are able to be reached by video sources and actually diagnose or prescribe medications with ease and efficiency. They can schedule appointments provide common results via email. Limits the excuses we have for going to the doctor, at least scheduling an appointment.

Conference calls can now be done with an active video on a real-time basis using tools like Zoom.US, Skype and others. The quality is actually as good as being face to face but without the expenses in a global environment. This is a good replacement for face to face interactions but it will not replace the trust, emotion and value that does come from a regular in person meeting. Still the change is good.

Driverless cars are on the near future horizon, so how do you feel about it? I love driving but the more I have thought about the process, I am ready to embrace the idea. No more fretting with traffic jams, irrational actions by other drives, or bad weather. I look forward to being able to use commute time for learning and preparation rather than concentrating on the road. Will it impact a number of other industries, absolutely so if these industries are not proactive they will become as extinct as the Dodo bird?

More and more examples or occurring daily. Will you embrace the change or drag your heals kicking and screaming? Yes, some changes are more difficult than others but our attitude about change is a choice that we make every day. You have control of how you address the issues but if you choose to fight a change, understand that it will not be easy and the cost may be high, personally and corporately.

Continuing to resist change usually does us no good. We should prepare ourselves by shifting our hearts and minds to the perception that most change is good and good for many. Change should make things easier and better.

Resisting something takes a lot of energy. It will force you to challenge your values and mores to ensure they are unconditionally sound. There will be some changes that your values won’t allow you to take advantage of, but as with all change the choice is yours.

Here are some questions I ask myself when looking at change:

  1. Is the change necessary and who determined the necessity?
  2. Is it morally and socially acceptable based on my current view of honesty, integrity and transparency? Does it violate my view of right and wrong?
  3. Who will be effected the most? Myself, my family, my community, my country, a small group, a privileged group or the whole of civilization?
  4. Will the change have an impact on other industries and how will that impact be accepted by that group?
  5. Does the potential benefit of the change outweigh the costs personally, financially, socially and spiritually?
  6. Will my world be improved or destroyed by accepting the change?
  7. Is it something that I need to meditate or pray about before acknowledging?

With these seven questions you have the ability to make a choice about the change. But remember participation in the transition of change may be uncomfortable at first. However, it can also add to your energy, therefore providing you with more energy to devote to something else.

Using your energy to resist change can be wasteful and futile. Also remember that most changes are not life threatening now or in the immediate future. In the end, you have the power to determine the quality and effectiveness of your life, work and leadership by your response to our ever-changing world.

If you would like to have a workshop for your employees to help facilitate a change please check out the Transformative Leadership website or call me at 630-454-4821.

 

Intentionally Redefine Your Leadership Style (part 4)

Child Leadership 2014  So what can you do to develop    your unique leadership style into one that will be highly trusted and respected? Today we continue last week’s post, here are the last three of the seven characteristics you can integrate when selecting the best leadership style, with tips for putting them into action.

  1. Be Collaboration-Focused

The best leaders are human and socially conscious. Recognizing the contribution of others and giving the team room to innovate is the best way to lead into a more resilient future. In this 21st century we are facing radical changes in business structure, communication methods and high dependency on partners for growth.

If your leadership style is silo focused and inward driven, then it will not fit well in today’s environment. People are looking for leaders they can trust, believe and willing to commit to a common purpose of vision. If your focus in on short term financial goals with no room for employees, then I would say your focus is wrong.

  • Consider “Why should my team be led by me?” Notice what you already bring them, and what they need more of from you to bring out their best.
  • Ask yourself, “What can I give my team today?”
  • Ask your people, “How can I help you succeed?”

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Understanding Soft Skills for Your Career

Stonehedge RF SXU 250X96 2013Today, I want to discuss one of the personal sides of soft skills and how they can affect your career path. There are some careers where soft skills are not as important as hard skills so each person really needs to understand how they may be used in their chosen path. Many think soft skills are as mystical as Stonehenge but they are really quite practical.

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Are Soft Skills Over-rated?

Core Values

Attrib: D. Dominici FDP

Today, we are seeing a tremendous amount being written and taught on Soft Skills in the business and social arena. Many are saying this topic is over rated and just a buzz word. but I beg to differ. Many of our communications problems today find their root in incivility, rudeness and lack of respect. By the way all are soft skills! It is one of those ailments that has happened over a period of time, without many really realizing the impact. It is also being ignored by many leaders in the marketplace.

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