Sunday, November 20, 2011

How to Show Gratitude in the Workplace

Originally Found on

Does your organization have a culture of gratitude? Each day there are countless opportunities to show gratitude to others in the workplace. Supervisors, leaders, and coworkers can all help build a culture of gratitude by acknowledging the contributions of those around them in specific and genuine ways. Here are some ways to foster gratitude in the workplace:
  1. Formal recognition programs are a common way employers build a culture of gratitude in the workplace. Formal annual, quarterly, monthly, or even weekly awards can help build a culture of recognizing the behaviors and results your organization seeks.
  2. Having a method of peer recognition is important in developing appreciation among coworkers. Create a program or initiative that encourages peers to recognize and thank one another for their help.
  3. On-the-spot rewards and recognition allow employees to be recognized at any time by supervisors, management, or even peers through some small reward, such as a gift card, ticket to local event, or other valued recognition. Spontaneous rewards and recognition can be welcome surprises for employees.

Friday, November 4, 2011

10 Management Tips from US Airways' Hub

by Ted Reed - Originally found on TheStreet

In a down economy, the US Airways(LCC_) hub in Charlotte has been an oasis of growth as well as a model of efficiency. For that, many credit a station manager who knows how to get the most from her employees.

Terri Pope, Charlotte station manager since 2000 and US Airways vice president for airport customer service, "knows how to get people to buy in," said Cinde Monsam, senior manager for station administration and one of Pope's four direct reports.

"What I learned from her and what she does better than anyone else is that she reads the needs of people, not just her employees but also her managers," said Monsam. "She knows when to push for an idea and when to back off, because she listens to people's voices. The loyalty she inspires by doing that is incredible."

Terri Pope
Terri Pope

Recent growth has pushed US Airways' Charlotte departures to about 640 from about 400 in 2004, making Charlotte/Douglas the country's 11th biggest airport as well as the carrier's most profitable hub. US Airways employs 6,500 in Charlotte: Pope directly oversees 2,000 who work in the airport. Additionally, as the airline's highest ranking Charlotte official, she is the face of US Airways in Charlotte.

At a recent meeting, where US Airways Charlotte managers reviewed their 2010 performance, Pope concluded by saying that that a few years ago, she was not so proud of that role. The carrier underwent two bankruptcies and often ranked badly in on-time performance and other operational metrics. "We were looked upon perhaps not as highly as we should have been," Pope said.

But now, "When I walk into chamber meetings or corporate headquarters or any meeting, I just glow when someone asks me what I do," she said. And quickly, she credited her staff. "I can't tell you how much I respect you, for what you bring to this wonderful hub of ours." That's one insight into what makes Terri Pope a unique leader: she puts employees first. Here are her ten guidelines:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beyond Performance - Leaders Get Results!

I really encourage everyone in a leadership role to read, "Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage" by Colin Price, Scott Keller. Their book focuses on organizational health, which they define as the ability of any organization to align, execute, and renew itself faster than your competitors can. According to the authors, as we work more and socialize less, our sense of meaning and identity is increasingly derived from the workplace. More and more people are looking for that sense of “belonging, which was originally defined by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need.

Job satisfaction in the US has dropped from 61% in 1987 to less than 45% in 2009. Productivity during the same period has increased more slowly than in any fifteen year period since 1950.

As our economies emerge from the recession, the ability to lead and manage organizations in a way that motivates employees to be more productive than ever is extremely important. In other words, the health of any organization must encompass all the human elements required to achieve sustainable success.

The process for organizational health is defined by the authors as the Five A’s;

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to Plan for the Future of Your Business with the Help of Employees

The opportunity to change the structure of the company toward a more versatile or bureaucratic structure can now be determined by your management team. The importance of the way your employees perceive your company and the way they think it should be, cannot be denied. These gaps between the actual and the ideal should be given special attention, and can provide your management team with ideas that can be developed and expanded in strategic planning sessions. Assessments can provide a most valuable tool that puts the management team on notice and causes them to consider change within the organization. These changes may never be apparent without this assessment, because it is unbiased, confidential, and provides a comprehensive diagnosis of an organization.

This is certainly needed in our highly competitive environment.
Isn't it about time you got your camera out and took a snapshot of your company?

Monday, October 17, 2011

How to Properly Use Performance Appraisals

I was reading an article titled, “Bias Found in Employee Appraisals” on It elaborated on the fact that new research shows vast discrepancies in employee appraisals by workers who report to two bosses.

Performance Appraisals have always shown bias from one manager to another. Many consulting firms even recommend that companies not spend money on the training and development of their managers regarding the delivery of an employee appraisal by a manager. If we don’t train to develop consistency in delivery, then how can we ever have a Performance Appraisal System without bias?

Small business owners and managers, listen up, it’s time to realize that the Performance Appraisal Process is the best means to communicate workplace expectations with the employee and that employee engagement is key to retention moving forward.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coaching - The Most Overlooked Employee Benefit

Companies are saying that executive coaching has become their secret weapon when it comes to acquiring talent. BMW of Canada recently introduced a program that included the hiring of coaches to incorporate training into a leadership – development program.

Coaching can certainly compliment leadership training in any organization and it can be a needed incentive to elevate performance and provide a competitive edge by providing another perk or reason to join. In my experience, I have found Coaching to be a key component to retaining a good to great manager or leader. Coaches can be the link between personal direction and work/life balance while expanding the communication link between the business strategy and the employee by promoting good leadership skills.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Employee Engagement is Performance and Productivity

Managers have more impact on engagement then their companies.

In Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to be the Best…and Learn from the Worst by Robert Sutton, the author noted that about 75% of today's workforce reports that their immediate supervisor is the most stressful part of their job. It has also noted by several surveys including the initial work by Gallup that immediate supervisors have far more impact on engagement and productivity than whether their companies are rates as great or lousy places to work.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm a manager, I don't need training. Right?

Training for anyone who is new to managing a team is critical. It can be difficult to transition from exclusively being an individual contributor to driving team performance. This often requires very different skills, which perhaps they may not even know what is required of them.

There is a real need in many organizations to help new managers learn to manage their expectations of time management, so that they continue to contribute as individuals, but also are able to lead their teams successfully.

But your managers have been managing for a while now, they don't need training right? More than likely, they do need it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Talk Tough to a Poor Performer

Delivering negative feedback is one of the toughest jobs managers face. So they avoid the issue, hoping that performance problems will evaporate on their own. They won't. Here are some tips that will make delivering feedback a bit easier:
  • Stay away from ancient history - Some managers allow a subordinate to mess up a few times without saying anything. Then, they explode with a list of offenses a mile long. It's better to address each incident as it happens or let it go. Read "Good Boss Bad Boss" by Robert Sutton
  • Be clear, but not combative - Don't dance around the problem. When you discipline a subordinate, both of you should walk away with a clear understanding of the issue and an action plan for a solution.
  • Don't act overly optimistic - or the employee will come away with the feeling that everything is ok. You need to convey the seriousness of the feedback you're delivering and the ramifications if the person doesn't improve.
Adapted from "Delivering Bad News with Grace and Effectiveness" Emory Mulling - Atlanta Business Chronicle

Every great athlete has a coach, so should every top business performer. Coaching can help get you to a higher level of performance or it can help you achieve your goal in a more timely fashion. Contact Innovative Leadership for Business Coaching for CEO's, Management, and Teams. More info

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How To Track Performance for Growth

Every goal – organizational or personal – needs a deadline or target date. Without a deadline, there is no pressure to perform at top capacity. Deadlines provide a motivational “push.” Once people discover what they can do, that new level of productivity becomes a constant challenge for achievement giving your business a much needed edge.

A good tracking system is one of the most useful tools for helping individuals meet goals and grow. Progress can be demonstrated only by comparing the past and the present and tracking is the best method of evaluating both the quantity and the quality of performance for individuals, for a department or work group, or for the overall organization.

How to choose a tracking system that meets your needs:
• Appropriate measurement. Make sure the tracking tool measures each important aspect of the activity. If your goal is to reduce the number of days between the receipt and shipping of orders, you won’t be happy to discover that the time interval was cut from three days to one if you also learn that the error rate rose from one percent to eight percent. In this case, a tracking plan should include both speed and accuracy.

• Easy to use. The measurement tool should not add significantly to the workload. If every worker must spend an hour a day just filling in the report, you lose a good deal of valuable time that could have been used in more productive efforts.

• Easy to interpret. Tracking tools should present the facts visibly in a form that quickly reveals the pertinent facts. Charts, graphs, and summary reports with side-by-side comparisons to the last reporting period are easy to read and interpret. What you learn from the reports helps you decide what to do next. Make sure tracking information is used to advance the goals program.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Are you liable for harassment that takes place in your business?

Litigation cases in the area of Workplace Harassment are continuing to increase. How do you define harassment in the workplace? It’s not as simple as it used to be. It is now defined as any type of unwelcome action toward an employee that leads to difficulty in performing assigned tasks or causes the employee to feel he or she is working in a hostile environment.

There are three phases to an employee filing an litigation case. First, there is unwelcome and offensive conduct. The harassment may be based on such factors as race, gender, culture, age, sexual orientation, or religious preference. Bullying and retaliation are also forms of workplace harassment.Second, the employee must voice his or her objection to the behavior, allowing the offending individual or individuals to correct their workplace behavior. Last, the conduct must be of a nature that makes an impact on the ability of the employee to carry out his or her duties in an efficient and responsible manner. Some forms of workplace harassment are more common than others. Unwanted sexual advances by peers or supervisors is the most oft cited form of workplace harassment but other forms are also on the rise.

Where does this leave you as an employer or manager? Are you liable for harassment that takes place in your business?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How to Find Leaders in the Workplace

In a department or work group of any size, smaller groups begin to form along the lines of common needs and desires. You can often observe these groups during breaks or lunch time. Workers enjoy being together because of similar interests, problems, work, or other factors. This is where your informal leader emerges. When you recognize these informal leaders, you can use their power and influence to enhance the results and productivity of the group. You can antagonize informal leaders and their followers and see productivity sabotaged, or you can harness the power of informal groups to increase productivity.

Although informal leaders are not designated by the organization, they frequently wield extensive power and influence because of their ability to help other team members satisfy needs and reach goals. They are automatically sought out for advice and help when a colleague experiences a problem. They often are outstanding team members with common sense, loyalty, and can contribute a great deal to your company’s success when you delegate to them and help them develop their abilities even further.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How To Understand Behaviors at Work

Understanding the reasoning behind certain actions – why people act as they do – can help you deal effectively with people when they seem completely irrational to you. All behavior is designed to satisfy some need, and even unproductive behavior in the workplace usually arises from some unmet, internal personal need.

The satisfaction of psychological needs is just as important as physical needs but frequently more difficult. People usually first try to satisfy needs by direct action. They work hard to appear successful, exercise to look stronger and more confident, or read books to increase knowledge. For most, the direct approach works. Some individuals, however, grew up with or have life experiences that expand many unsatisfied needs that they now feel generally inferior, guilty, or unworthy. A direct approach is usually only temporary and insufficient. As a result, people with low self-esteem build defenses.

As a manager, CEO, or supervisor learning to recognize defenses will help you refer people for help to find alternative ways to satisfy their needs. As you direct employees to resources for addressing their problems, you not only help them improve their quality of life, but you also prevent defensive behavior in the workplace.

Some of the most common defenses are easy to recognize. Recognizing these defensive behaviors helps you know how to best respond:

Aggression - An aggressive person strikes out in an attempt – often subconscious – to destroy the source of frustration. Aggression is a sign of inner fear – not bravery. Because in our society an actual physical release of hostility is generally unacceptable behavior, people may resort instead to gossip, slander, or ridicule as a means of venting hostility in a more socially acceptable fashion. Regard any new surge in aggressive behavior or attitudes as a warning of underlying problems. Use the “tell me about it” method; confront the behavior or negative attitudes.

Daydreaming - In spite of adequate training and above average ability, some people persist in escaping from the drab world of reality into a dream world where life is a bed of roses. Team members who persistently daydream rather than work are exhibiting behavior more characteristic of adolescence than of adulthood. You can often cure daydreaming by helping individuals learn to set short-term goals and gradually establish a pattern of success.

Repression - This protects the self-image by rejecting thoughts that are unpleasant or would cause guilt or shame. Some repression may be positive, but an overdose results in intense fears and debilitating feelings of inferiority. Some repressed experiences produce feelings of guilt expressed through self-criticism – or even an apparent desire to provoke punishment. Help team members exhibiting excess guilt, inferiority, or negativism to begin believing in themselves more. Give praise for specific successes whenever possible.

Rationalization – This is someone who explains failure by making excuses. Why is production down? The raw materials were bad. Why they were not promoted? It was strictly favoritism! Rationalization is an attempt to boost the self-image by “lying to oneself.” People who rationalize must learn to admit their faults and overcome them. A good system of feedback – both positive and corrective – helps to establish a climate in which team members feel secure enough to acknowledge weaknesses and to develop a plan for growth.

Compartmentalization – This is a way of controlling anxiety and guilt feelings by separating contradictory ideas in the conscious mind. Employees who firmly believe it is wrong to steal might use compartmentalization to justify carrying off company property to make up for salaries they believe are too low. Reasoning with people who compartmentalize is a waste of time and energy. But appealing to their emotions will bolster their egos and more likely nurture a commitment to desired behavior.

Understanding and identifying these behaviors will help you become sensitive to defensiveness and turn it into cooperation in the workplace.

Remember, the best predictor of future performance is present in the ways and means that they addressed a similar situation in their work environment in the past. Understanding your own behavior and the behavioral style of your employees will allow you to not only recognize some of these defensive actions earlier, but maybe just prevent the incident before it even occurs.

For more information on our courses and workshops that allow you to use behavioral styles to your advantage as a manager or employee, please call us at 609.390.2830.

Innovative Leadership of the Delaware Valley, LLC offers the Everything DiSC® Management Workshop designed to help managers realize the impact of their personal behavioral style on the people you work with. This Workshop teaches participants about their behavioral strengths and challenges as managers and how to adapt to meet the needs of the people they manage – making everyone more productive and effective.

Also, Check out our Making of an Effective Manager Course!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Seven Questions that Demonstrate Engagement

After reading the “The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations that Win, Susan R. Meisinger, former CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, comments in an article that the difficulty that organizations face when trying to engage people who are all motivated by different things, is to shift your view of engagement from not simply “being present” but look at engagement as “being emotionally and socially present”. She feels if HR wants to help their leadership team and employees find greater meaning in their roles within the company, they need to do more than ensure that everyone has a best friend at work or has been coached about their future career with the last 60 days.
I agree with Susan that HR professionals who are charged with elevating employee engagement need to read this book to better understanding of the why’s of the seven questions. The book will offer them new insights into ways to increase their own engagement – or to increase the abundance in their lives – and increasing the value they bring to their own organization. As Susan states, it’s engagement with a different view.
So when are you going out on into the workplace to ask these questions?
  1. Who am I?
  1. Where am I going?
  1. Whom do I travel with?
  1. How do I build a positive work environment?
  1. What challenges interest me?
  1. How do I change, learn and grow?
  1. What delights me?
It’s time to learn if we do have an engaged workforce or not…..Get moving.
The questions listed above were presented in a recent book by Dave and Cindy Ulrich, The why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations that Win; their book focuses on how leaders engage their workforce but also their customers, vendors, community and investors.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What is the biggest Leadership Obstacle to Middle Management?

I am starting to realize that the biggest obstacle to middle management is without question, senior management. Most managers today show a greater loyalty to their department while the loyalty and respect for senior management is waning. The result becomes a real disconnect between upper and middle management. This disconnect is directly related to employee engagement.

Upper management is responsible for providing the direction of the company. This strategic responsibility is quite a task but senior management expects total commitment to the vision, mission, and strategic business objectives from their middle management and all employees and it is unreal. This lack of commitment is demonstrated in most employee surveys or employee engagement data. It is well documented that the American worker tends to trust their immediate supervisor as opposed to the company’s senior leaders.

How to Provide Direction to Middle Management:
  1. Senior officers, you need get out of your office and be with your day to day decision makers - In a previous article, I noted that observation and open discussion with managers and staff are competencies or skills that senior managers tend to avoid. Senior management must eliminate the lack of trust and to do that they must inspire their management team and staff to believe in the direction, etc. Getting buy in from your middle management team is imperative for sustained growth.
  2. Mentor middle management - The middle managers must feel appreciated and the best way to do that is to be mentored by a senior manager, which moves the mid-level manger toward the strategy side of the equation. The middle management of any organization must comprehend the business strategy for them to be able translate the direction that is easily understood by the entire work force. If this cascading flow of communication gets interrupted, then it becomes impossible for anyone within any organization to connect the dots resulting in employee disengagement.
  3. Develop middle management - It is well documented what skills and competencies are needed for managers to be high achievers; but when I talk to most middle managers, they tell me that they have had little or no formal training. We are entrusting the success of our companies to people who do not know what it takes to provide positive feedback, cascading communication channels, an engaging work environment and everything else it takes to make a successful company. We assume that exemplary performance at a lower level or specific role will automatically make them highly productive managers.

I hate to tell you but leaders and great managers are made not born. In most employee surveys and/or engagement data, we find that most concerns of employees focus on their immediate supervisor not doing what they should be doing….communicating the business strategy while translating it to define the full value of everyone’s role, responsibility, and actions needed to create a successful company.

With the rapid departing of the baby boomers and disengagement still hovering around 30 percent, isn’t it time to focus on developing your future leaders. This leadership must be developed in the middle of the company and mentored upward so that the strategy and implantation will always do exactly what it is intended to do……bring the desired results.

Now is the time for senior management to act and gain success in their company through developing their management and then the middle management’s individual productivity results in organizational effectiveness. It’s not magic but it is a necessity.

Article written by Richard J. Hohmann Jr., Lead Coach for Innovative Leadership, a strategic partner with Fitzpatrick, Bongiovanni, & Kelly, PC, and also a member of the Collaboration Team for Leadership Management International. Richard can also speak at your next organization’s meeting, to invite him to speak call 609-390-2830. For Management Training Solutions click here:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Managers: Ask for Bad News

Don't allow bad news to blindside you. If you do, you'll have to shift priorities ina hurry to handle any promlems that arise unexpectedly.

Here are some tips to ensure you get the bad news in time to do something about it:

  • Develop Independent sources of information. Cultivate informal contacts elsewhere in your organization. Take customer calls at the call center. Talk to your front-line staff.
  • Push for depth. Does one element of a report seem a little off? Search for the reason why. That "off" fact or figure could alert you to a major problem.
  • Create a "truth-telling" culture. Assign a "worse-case scenario" team to every analysis. Get everyone used to "facing the truth." Caution: Truth telling doesn't mean shooting down less than perfect ideas.
  • Take action. If what your staff tell you just languishes, they won't come forward. Mobilize your resources and tackle the problem immediately.
Adapted from "How to Get Bad News to the Top" by Scott Kirsner

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Understanding Human Behavior

Understanding human motivation enables you to achieve results through people, while understanding team members and their behavior implies that you care about them and have their best interests at heart. Investing the time and effort required to understand human behavior and to motivate employees offers readily observable benefits:
• Reduction in personnel turnover
• Identification of effective motivational leadership methods
• Increase in employee productivity, creativity, and loyalty.

Human beings are complicated, and there are no simplistic rules for understanding their behavior. Certain principles, however, provide insight into why people behave in certain ways. One way of looking at human behavior is to see it as caused by needs and wants. and can be classified into four types that are called the Four P’s: protection, pleasure, profit, and pride.

The need for protection is expressed in the universal desire for a feeling of security, safety, and protection from danger, from confusion, from domination and loss of freedom, from pain and poor health, and from uncertainty. This need is also expressed in a desire for a feeling of freedom from all kinds of loss—including loss of status, reputation, time, money, or opportunity. In very practical terms, this need demands that team members perform at their best, yet feel free from the fear of losing their jobs at the whim of an unpredictable leader.

Pleasure reflects the need and desire for comfort, convenience, companionship of others, or participation in enjoyable activities. Pleasure also includes feelings of assurance and a sense of belonging. Receiving attention fulfills a pleasure need because we all want recognition and approval from others. A sense of achievement is also an important pleasure need; all of us want to feel that we are capable of accomplishing and completing worthwhile goals.

The desire for profit is seen in the concern for monetary gain, increased earnings, and other financial advantages. Some individuals are motivated more than others by the desire for profit, but nearly everyone has this need to some extent. Thrift and avoidance of waste are also expressions of the desire for profit.

A sense of pride is fostered by feelings of self-esteem as well as feelings of significance and respect from others. As you treat others in ways that make them feel good about themselves, you are meeting their need for pride. People want to feel respected, to enjoy equality with others, and to achieve prestige in groups they consider important.

What is the best motivator?

All three basic approaches to motivation (fear, incentive, and attitude) have been available since the early beginnings of organized society. Both fear and incentive motivation have consistently proven to be temporary because they are external. Fear ceases to exist if the power to inflict punishment is gone. But it also ceases to motivate action if people find out they can live with the punishment, or if it is an empty threat. A team member who is careless about following established procedures learns that the only punishment is an angry reprimand; it may be easier to tune out the lecture than to follow the rules exactly. Fear is successful as a motivator only if the pressure is constant and power to punish is exercised.

Incentive motivation loses its power when the promised rewards are perceived either as unattainable or as unappealing. When employees consistently earn a promised reward over a period of time, that reward is expected. It no longer appears desirable enough to inspire extra effort. In fact, it is soon looked upon as a right instead of a special reward. Unfortunately, incentives must become progressively more impressive to continue to motivate. Both fear and incentive motivation fall short because they are externally controlled and temporary.

Attitude motivation, on the other hand, is a permanent force for producing desired behavior. It has the additional advantage of being internally produced and controlled. It continues to be effective whether the individual is working alone or in a group. Attitude motivation grows out of an individual’s dreams and desires. It is a function of the need to belong, to achieve, and to use the innate talents with which the individual is endowed. motivating people is basically a matter of showing them how to develop the power of self-motivation and then demonstrating to them the desirability of using that power to accomplish a purpose. Admittedly, it takes longer to start the process of achievement in your organization through attitude motivation than you might produce through either fear or incentive. But once team members experience the sense of fulfillment that comes through the use of attitude motivation, they are permanently sold on making full use of their potential.

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Encourage the Cooperation of Others

By Richard Hohmann, VP of Innovative Leadership

“Since the first recorded history, leaders have attempted to discover new ways to attract the willing cooperation of others.”

Leaders fill many different types of positions and perform widely diverse functions. But the chief task of leadership is the same for all: to motivate people who will then use their skills and effort to achieve the goals of the organization. The operative word in that definition is motivate. The attention given to motivation is not new. Since the first recorded history, leaders have attempted to discover new ways to attract the willing cooperation of others. Records of their attempts—along with accounts of their successes and failures—have filled countless volumes, but all of the different methods discovered can be sorted into three basic categories: fear, incentive, and attitude.

. Motivation through fear
The oldest method of motivation is fear. In primitive society, the strongest person became the ruler. Physical strength was originally the source of power, and weaker members of the group followed orders because they feared the physical punishment that was sure to result from refusal to conform. As society became more organized, other types of power came into play: Social, economic, and political pressures forced obedience. Even today, the business world uses fear to motivate people to behave in desired ways. Rules and policies threaten various sanctions for undesirable behavior all the way from a memo of censure placed in the personnel file to denial of increased pay to outright dismissal.

2. Motivation through incentive
Although fear is often a powerful motivator, many would-be leaders who lack the personal power to demand obedience look for other methods of producing the cooperation they want. They realized that every behavior is the result of a desire either to gain a benefit or to avoid a loss. Because of this lack of power, they offer an incentive—the promise of some gain to those who complied. Incentive motivation is generally regarded as a more enlightened strategy than fear. Families and schools use the promise of rewards to coax children to perform. Organizations offer people awards, prizes, and privileges for certain achievements.

3. Motivation through attitude
The master method of motivation is attitude. When people are willing to perform because they personally believe that a particular course of action is right, they are self-motivated. It is then unnecessary for anyone else to “motivate” them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

10 Tips to Effective Communication

Manager’s today are dealing with 3 different generations in the workforce but that doesn’t change how managers should communicate with their employees. Everything a manager does involve communicating. Communication is needed to increase effectiveness, efficiency, customer satisfaction, improve quality and create innovative opportunities.

The Gallop Poll has demonstrated that as a nation, we engage our workers less than any other workforce in the world. We need to engage our workers so they realize their value in the success of the business strategy of the company or organization. In other words, we need to make them feel that they are part of the decision making process and contribute significantly to the success of our organization. This will also help us retain our better employees.

On top of that, if we can improve feedback, we certainly will help retain our good employees. Remember, people don’t leave a good company, they leave a bad manager. The number one reason for an employee leaving a company is lack of feedback from their immediate supervisor. So the number one factor in regard to Talent Management – Communication.

How do we communicate?
• Verbal
– One-on-One
– Meetings
– Groups or Teams
– Telephone
• Written
– Letter
– Memo
– E Mail
• Non-verbal
– Body Language

As a manager, you must remember that sending an email can easily be misinterpreted. Face to face meetings or just interaction is being replaced by emails, against common belief, this actually decreases productivity.

Here are 10 tips to effective communication
1. Connect personally with employees
2. Plan your presentation with the outcome in mind
3. Make it real communication; eliminate perception
4. Use a variety of communication pathways and vehicles
5. Give people multiple opportunities to share their concerns, ask questions, and offer ideas
6. Don’t confuse Process with Communication
7. Be genuine and develop trust
8. Be an active listener
9. Keep a sense of humor and develop comfortable relations
10. Communicate ideas not feelings or judgment

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

5 Tips for Fun in the Workplace

  • Once a quarter, set aside a day where all the employees, including the manager and the boss, have to dress up as some fictional or cartoon character, or as anything theme everyone decides on. Award the “best dressed person” with a gift card to a local dining favorite. Such days will lighten up the atmosphere at work and ease out the tension.
  • Put games such as chess, pool table, carom, monopoly, etc. for refreshment. Employees who finish their work early can refresh themselves with such recreational games. Also choose a corner in the office to put some gymnastic equipment. A small workout could do wonders to the mind.
  • In lunch breaks or on specific Fridays, organize a karaoke session. Get a karaoke machine in the office and let the employees go wild. For maximum fun, let the managers and bosses be the contestants and employees the judges so that the higher authorities can get a taste of their own medicine!
  • Once every quarter, the entire office should take a long lunch break to a fancy restaurant and maybe go out for a movie, as well.
  • Create a cartoons and joke board. All employees could collect and share their favorite cartoons and jokes and put it up on the board.
Get all the employees to participate in ways to add fun in the workplace. Let the “fun crew” go wild with creativity, meeting once or twice a month, since there is no limit to ideas in which you can infuse a lot of fun in the office. However, every week or every month, the members of the “fun crew” should change so that there is always a fresh rotation of fun ideas!

Adapted from Careers

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why Email Marketing? Five Great Reasons

by Michelle Keegan1, Constant Contact Email Marketing Expert Sign up Here

Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses of all types and sizes. No matter how you define success, you can achieve outstanding results with email marketing while investing only a small amount of time and an even smaller amount of money.

"54% of small businesses surveyed rated e-mail as the top online promotion to drive site visitors and customers to their web sites and storefronts." Source: DMA Interactive

"I think over time we'll see small businesses adopting e-mail marketing because it has the inherent advantages of being 'faster, cheaper and easier' to execute. Coupled with the potential to target more precisely than today's solo or shared mailers, there's a real win for the small business owner." Source: Neal Polachek, senior vice president of The Kelsey Group.

So, Why Email Marketing?

  1. It's Inexpensive
    Email marketing is an affordable way to stretch a tight marketing budget - and whose isn't these days? Unlike direct mail, there is virtually no production, materials or postage expense. Email marketing is 20 times more cost effective than direct mail, and can cost as little as fractions of a penny per email.

    "Previously, we were sending these kinds of mailings through first-class postal mail," said Robin Parker, owner of Studio: Dance, Arts & More. "With several hundred members and prospects, that really adds up quickly. Email marketing is much less expensive than sending out postcards or flyers. We save about $4,000 just in materials and postage."
  2. It's Effective
    Email marketing enables you to proactively communicate with your existing customers and prospects instead of passively waiting for them to return to your Web site or storefront. It is a highly effective way to increase sales, drive site or store traffic and develop loyalty.

    • Increasing sales
      "In response to our first campaign, WatchZone received 100 online orders - all from a segment of 15,000 current customers," said Shavi Mahtani, CEO of, a leading site for fashion and sport watches at discount prices. "The average sale was about $150 per order. We were very happy with that result. Frankly, it exceeded our expectations."
    • Driving traffic
      "The increase in traffic was substantial," said Travis Erickson, controller for, online "Pro Shop" for golf enthusiasts. "We've noticed that even if the recipient isn't interested in, say, our golfing irons promotion, they'll think, 'Wow, that's a great price - I wonder what else they have on sale?'"
    • Building Loyalty
      "We're technically not an e-business," said Robin Parker, owner of Studio: Dance, Arts & More, "but we're using email marketing to capture the names of site visitors so that we can provide them with information, news, and schedules that make their lives easier. That helps us build and retain loyal members. We believe email marketing will increase the lifetime value of our members by encouraging more frequent visits to the studio and strengthening our relationships with our members."
  3. It's Immediate

    Email marketing generates an immediate response. The call to action is clear: "Click here to take advantage of this offer", or "to learn more about this service". Initial campaign response generally occurs within 48 hours of the time the email campaign is sent.

    "Orders pour in within 24 hours after I send my newsletters," said CEO, Au-Co Mai. "In an economy where most companies are suffering, I can't believe that I'm actually thriving and breaking revenue goals every month."

  4. It's Targeted
    You can easily segment your lists using a variety of criteria or interest groups so that your promotions go to the individuals most likely to respond to your offer.

    "Because many of our customers are collectors, they are only interested in hearing about the newest collectible arrivals," said Lars Mohlin, President, House of Ascot, a mail order gift and collectible business. "While others are looking for promotions, the collectors often dislike receiving mail messages offering discounts. We target email campaigns to our subscribers' opt-in interest categories, this has resulted in a 40%-50% jump in revenue."
  5. It's Easy

    There are Web-based email marketing products for small and medium businesses. Most include professional HTML templates, list segmentation and targeting capabilities, as well as, automatic tracking and reporting. So, you are free to concentrate on your unique message.
    "This is definitely something a non-techie can do," said Shavi Mahtani, CEO of "It took us about 45 minutes - start to finish - to build and compose our e-mail. And each campaign since then has taken less time to set up."

    "I don't need a Webmaster or a technical person to handle my newsletters anymore," said Raphael Baekeland, general manager of "My product manager and I can do everything very easily."

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Employee Engagement is a Unique Experience Leading to Motivation

By Richard Hohmann, VP of Innovative Leadership of the Delaware Valley

Tim Rutledge, Author of “Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty” defines engagement as employees who are attracted to, inspired by, committed to and fascinated by their work”.

The various levels of engagement involve certain ingredients that do make a difference:
• Relationship Building
• Goal-orientation
• Passion, and
• Forward Thinking

Many HR professionals use the following metrics to determine engagement:
• Individual Performance
• Organizational Productivity
• Employee Retention and Turnover
• Customer-orientation and brand loyalty

It has been shown that engagement has both a rational and emotional commitment. The latest statistics have demonstrated that 31% of our workforce is engaged and 17% are disengaged (BlessingWhite – 2011). Over half of the workers exhibit some disengagement. The statistics demonstrate that we are all accountable for our own engagement level but people in a management role must coach and/or mentor their direct reports to a higher level of engagement while managing their own engagement. Executives must not only set the tone for high morale but manage their own engagement plus shoulder the responsibilities of managers and staff.

This new body of work demonstrates a strong correlation between engagement levels and age, role and position, and tenure. It might be time for focus on generational diversity in the workplace. Unfortunately, the survey also shows that the majority of employees today are looking for new opportunities within and outside of their own company. Many companies are projecting that many of their good people will be leaving once the economy turns around. This survey also demonstrates that engaged employees stay for what they give and the disengaged stay for what they get. Doesn’t that say it all!

It is certainly important for HR professionals and the executive officers of the company to focus on activities that close the gap between the decision makers and the staff. We must get everyone on the same page and have management respond instead of react.

Contact us for our Top Ten Solutions for Disengagement
…this is an ideal document to discuss with your executive leadership team. Remember, in previous studies, it has been shown that 96% of engaged employees trust their leaders and only 46% of the disengaged employees trust their leaders. Isn’t it time that your company’s leadership team focus on Motivation – the end result of Engagement.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How To Solve Problems with Success - 7 Steps

When a problem arises, the preliminary steps lead up to a decision about which a possible solution will be implemented. Problem solving may involve a relatively insignificant item, or it may concern a serious issue with the possibility of a major impact on the entire organization. The larger and more important the problem, the more time and detail go into each step of the problem-solving process. For minor problems, several of the steps may be accomplished mentally in only a few seconds.

But the process always includes these steps:
1. Define the problem. Take time to discover the nature of the real problem when something is obviously wrong. Define the problem clearly in terms of one or more organizational or personal goals.
2. List criteria for selecting a solution. Establish guidelines for evaluating possible solutions and making a decision by referring to specific organizational goals and priorities. The criteria might include impact on product quality, cost limits, personnel changes, the leader’s time allotment, and a target date for choosing a solution to be implemented.
3. Collect information. Considering time and expense, identify the particular type of information that must be assembled and set a deadline for collecting it. Asking open-end questions and listening carefully are generally good information-gathering techniques. Ask others how they would solve the problem and why they would take that approach.
4. Develop possible solutions. Examine all of the data collected and record all possible solutions suggested by the data. List as many possible solutions as you or the group can generate by brainstorming. The brainstorming process is most effective when it is completely uninhibited and free from any critical analysis.
5. Analyze possible solutions. Allow time for ideas to “incubate.” Work on other problems and come back to the original one with a new perspective. When you accept traditional assumptions about what can be done, you limit the ability to find creative solutions. Alter assumptions about what can be accomplished, and you open your mind to new possibilities for solving specific problems.
6. Make the decision. When as much information as feasible has been gathered and considered, assume the responsibility for making a decision, or for leading team members to choose the best possible solution.
7. Implement the solution and follow up. Since the process is problem solving rather than decision making alone, a plan for implementation must be developed to carry the job through to completion. Assign responsibility for each action step. Set up a schedule and follow it to make sure the problem is being solved. Make appropriate adjustments along the way to ensure successful problem solving.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Working Together to Achieve Goals

To gain full mastery of your attitudes, your time, and your life, immerses yourself in a total program of personal and organizational goals. Many personal goals involve items money can buy, and your career is the means for earning that money. Other personal goals focus on satisfying such intangible needs as security, ego satisfaction, and self-fulfillment that are inevitably tied to the work environment. When you recognize this relationship both intellectually and emotionally, you realize that productivity leads to the satisfaction of both your personal needs and your professional success.

Reaching business goals requires the cooperation of everyone in the organization. Ideally, everyone plays an appropriate part in choosing business goals, planning for their achievement, and working out the action steps. Few organizations, however, are ideal. Some business goals may be handed down to you with little opportunity for your input. You may find it easy to be wholeheartedly committed to the achievement of these goals, but it is possible that you might find yourself in partial disagreement with a particular goal or plan. At this point, carefully examine your priorities and values to determine exactly how you can contribute to the achievement of the stated goals and how you can grow personally by doing so – even though you might have preferred to see the organization move in another direction. Express your ideas about particular organizational goals and plans to the right person at the right time. Only in the case of a serious clash between your personal values and those of the organization will you find it impossible to contribute appropriately. With careful consideration, you can gain insights into ways to contribute to the productivity and long-term success of the company.

One element to consider in both personal and organizational goal setting is the time investment required. Most organizations develop more ideas for profit and expansion than they have the resources to carry out. Consequently, some criteria must be established for choosing profitable ventures. Traditionally, these decisions are based on projected return on in-vestment of capital. Obviously, though, some projects that promise high financial return require more time on the part of team members than others. In strategic planning, organizations must consider not only the amount of capital required for undertaking a new project and the expected return on investment, but they must also plan realistically for the amount of time required of key people to implement and supervise the project. Some projects that promise a high return on the investment of capital are impractical when the amount of time required by certain team members is considered.

To ensure adequate time to undertake exciting new projects, all members of the organization need to practice time-proven goal-setting principles of effective personal productivity. This is one strategy that always pays big dividends!

How the Goal-Setting Process Works

Goal setting is the most powerful process available to improve your personal productivity. Without planning and goal setting, all the desire that can be aroused in the limitless potential of the human spirit is wasted like the random lightning of a summer storm. It squanders its force in one flash across the heavens and is lost in the void of space without utility, purpose, or direction. It goes unharnessed and unused, its potential power wasted. Ironically, the contrast resulting from its sudden brilliance seems to leave behind an even darker future once the momentary glare fades.

In striking contrast, goal setting – supported by careful planning – provides a sense of direction to keep you focused on the most important activities. Goals serve as a filter to eliminate extraneous demands. Goals bring to life order, meaning, and purpose that sustain interest and motivation over a long period of time. Goals evoke your noblest qualities; they express your desire to achieve, to improve your life, and to be more effective, more productive, and more successful tomorrow than you are today.

Goal setting is the most powerful action you can take to improve your personal productivity. Simply defined, the goal-setting process is the process of:

  • Developing a mission statement for your life.
  • Writing a specific goal(s) that supports your mission.
  • Listing the benefits of achieving the goal.
  • Anticipating possible obstacles and solutions.
  • Writing detailed action steps and deadlines to achieve the goal.
  • Integrating the action steps into your planning system.
  • Determining a method of tracking your progress.
  • Writing affirmations to support your belief in your ability to accomplish the goal.
  • Developing a visual representation that effectively reminds you of your goal.

Although success carries different meanings to different people, there is a definition that fits your dreams as well as those of everyone else:

Success is the progressive realization of
worthwhile, predetermined personal goals.

Success does not come by accident; you cannot buy it, inherit it, or even marry into it. Success depends on following a lifelong practice of goal setting and continuous growth – the process of “progressive realization.” Success also depends on seeking predetermined goals. Although many worthwhile achievements come as side effects of some other activity or purpose, they are, nevertheless, a direct consequence of the pursuit of predetermined goals. The full, ultimate effect of reaching a specific goal is not always clearly visible now, but the important point to recognize is that achievement and increased personal productivity invariably arise as a direct consequence of striving toward predetermined goals.

The sole purpose of the goal-setting process is to guide you on the entire journey from wish to fulfillment. The steps in the process are simple but not simplistic, comprehensive but not complex. Be patient and keep an open mind until the overall pattern of activity begins to unfold. Just remember that you are what you are today because of events that unfolded over time and your choices in response to those events. When you wish to change, to alter attitudes or habits, or to develop new personality traits that will increase your effectiveness, that, too, takes time. Individual pace may vary, but the sequential process of goal setting does not; so follow the plan as outlined. When you internalize the goal-setting process, your goals create a magnetic attraction that draws you toward their achievement.

Innovative Leadership of the Delaware Valley, LLC is a partner of LMI
Leadership Management® Institute*
Reprinted with permission

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Observation is Key to Coaching Excellence

Coaching is a goal-oriented process that is designed to help an individual accomplish more in a shorter period of time, raise the bar even higher than the client believes is possible, and more. Coaching is also used to help the client become more action and results-oriented. When performance is an issue, the coaching objective usually focuses on developing the appropriate behaviors and actions that lead to higher achievement. Coaching in the workplace is usually measured by behavioral change and improvement in the key competencies and skill sets that result in higher achievement or improved productivity.

As a coaching client, how can you expect to improve your goals and to see those type of results if I never leave my desk or put down the telephone? I have been a certified Business Coach working with executives, managers, and employees in regard to performance and productivity for over ten years. It is impossible for me to measure results without viewing my client in the very environment that he or she is performing in. Observation is one of the most important ingredients in a successful coaching engagement, yet it is also one of the most difficult tasks.

Observation is most difficult because it is done through the coach’s eyes and my views on perceived right and wrong behavior. Sometimes coaches tend not to reinforce positive behavior to the individual and/or the team. We certainly do not emphasize an incident or behavioral display as an opportunity for growth. Most coaching engagements need the client to demonstrate a change in behavior, an action, or the enhancement of a skill set.

I find that observation can provide a candidate with the visual input that they tend not see themselves; their body language, use of the King’s English, tone, emphasis on words or terms, etc. Feedback on these behaviors can produce a positive performance and increase a person or team’s productivity. I like to observe these behaviors like my client speaking to individuals, groups and shareholders as well as in a meeting situation and more to give them input on behaviors that could mean success or failure.

Coaching at a higher level should help the client with their growth and development that will ultimately result in high achievement within the organization. I define perception as the view others have of me through their eyes and reality is view I get through the feedback from coach or manager. As a coach, I tell my clients not to hesitate to invite myself their work environment for observation and debriefing. Also, I make it clear that my client can request my attendance at any work event that might offer them an opportunity for some positive feedback from me, their coach. I encourage observation and use it as a coaching technique with all of my clients.

By: Richard Hohmann
Certified Business Coach
Vice President of Innovative Leadership of the Delaware Valley, LLC
Phone: 609.390.2830

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Five Steps to Success

People dream about it, aspire to it, work for it, envy it, sacrifice for it, exemplify it, achieve it and even lost it. One thing is for sure – everyone wants it.

Why aren’t more people successful? Why is success elusive for so many? The primary obstacle is how people view success. Unfortunately, most people see success as a matter of chance or a mere consequence of luck. This is evidenced by the popularity of such practices as psychics, horoscopes, fortune tellers, lotteries, gambling, etc.

Success is actually completely logical and predictable. This is because success is natural result of certain actions. Success is like gravity. If you hold up a rock and let go, it will drop. Likewise, if you do certain things, you will succeed. We have identified five steps to success. If you will follow these steps faithfully, you will succeed. In this month’s column, I will outline the first step to success. I will then lay out the other four steps over the next four columns.

Know Your Goals
The first key to success is to know what you want. If there’s one thing that stops people from being more successful, it’s lack of defined goals. When you have clear goals, you’re constantly thinking about what you want. You then begin to generate creative ideas on how you can attain your goals. This leads to goal awareness. Goal awareness allows you to see every opportunity to move closer to your goal. We all have countless opportunities right next to us. What seems like luck or chance to most people is simply the ability to recognize and act upon opportunities as they become available.

“Success is actually completely logical and predictable. This is because success is a natural result of certain actions.”

How do you define your goals? It’s actually a fairly simple process.

First, write down everything you’ve ever wanted. List everything. Include things you want to have, places you want to go, activities you want to do, qualities you want to possess, etc. The important thing is to write down everything. Don’t decide or judge if you’re worthy or capable of achieving your desires – just list them.

Second, Pick at least three but no more than 10 of the dreams you want to work on now.

Third, write each dream as a S.M.A.R.T. goal. SMART is an acronym for an effective goal. This means your goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible.

• Specific means you know exactly what you want. Do you want a new car? What kind? A Ford? A Toyota? A BMW? What make? What color? What accessories? The more specific you can be the better.

• Measurable means you always know exactly where you stand in relation to your goal. Do you want to lose weight? How much? By when?

• Attainable means it’s possible. Setting a goal to be 10 feet tall is probably not an attainable goal.

• Realistic means it’s possible for you. In other words, you need to set goals based on where you are now. If you’ve never played golf, it’s probably unrealistic to set a goal to win the Masters.

• To make your goal tangible, you must make it vivid. Know what it smells like, tastes like, sounds like, feels like, looks like and feels like emotionally.

Fourth, say your goals out loud at least twice a day, every day. The more you focus and internalize your goals, the more goal awareness you develop.

Fifth, physically write out your goals every day. The act of writing puts action into your goals. Once your goals are put into action, they develop their own momentum. The hardest part of achieving your goals is just getting started.

For the next 30 days, practice these principles every day. You will be amazed at the progress you make on your goals. Remember, success is certain.

By Randy Slechta, President of Leadership Management International, Inc. a global leadership and organizational development company

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What is the engine in your company?

By Richard Hohmann, VP, Innovative Leadership

How empowered is the "middle of your company?" Many companies have been focused on leveraging their top talent, investing in high-potentials and preparing people for the C-suite. Some are doing a better job than others but the real key is that in the midst of all this segmentation, have you thought about the "engine" of your workforce -- your middle management and consistent performers?

These are the people, over the last several years, which we have asked to do "more with less," increase innovation, collaborate and work globally. However, many have failed to give the middle of the organization the support it needs to succeed in today's modern work environment. With the right support, middle managers empower your front-line employees to grow and learn on the job.

Ann Burack-Weiss and Barbara Silverstone article Success of Middle Management Depends on Upper Management states; "The empowerment of middle management is an ongoing process. It consists of a blended approach in which outside resources such as online or in-person courses and readings on leadership and supervision are mixed with upper management modeling the very strategies they wish to instill. This includes the provision of regular feedback to the middle manager."

Our "Making of an Effective Manager Course", Voted the #1 Management Development Program by Entrepreneur Magazine, is just such a vehicle. (See Below for More Details) Your middle management delivers your desired outcome by implementing the business strategy and engaging the workforce by demonstrating their value to the designed outcome. Our Course provides a better understanding of the problem with the methods for providing solutions, and the need for demonstrating the appropriate behaviors to elevate the productivity and performance of your people and company

Enroll you middle management team now and see the difference.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Value of Mid-Level Management

I define management as the act of getting people to work together to achieve a common goal. In most organizations, the responsibility and roles of management vary by level and in most, the senior level management is responsible for the overall direction or strategy of the company and the middle level management is responsible for the tactical component that implements the plan developed by the senior level.

Strategic business initiatives and desired outcomes are normally focused on the financial results including shareholder satisfaction. Mid-level managers are responsible for the interlocking functions associated with management like organizing, planning, controlling, coordinating, and commanding. This responsibility also includes the utilization of available resources needed to produce the desired results.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Talent Management Means Competent Leadership

Talent Management is an entity that has been slowly evolving within many corporations. Most corporations list the following practices as part of their overall program:

  • High potential employee development
  • Leadership Development
  • Professional Development
  • Succession Planning
  • Career Planning
  • Learning and Training
  • Performance Management
  • Competency Management
  • Retention
  • Employee Engagement

Talent Management should concern itself with competencies. Companies should focus on the competencies that make a difference today and will continue to make a difference tomorrow. It means fitting the “right person” to the “right job” and then measuring their impact on the company’s strategy or goals.

In simplest of terms, Talent Management is people development associated with organizational effectiveness. Your middle management controls what employees stay and what employees leave. Your good employees will leave if you don't have a competent manager.

Most companies do not have a clue about what Talent Management means to them and what competencies will provide sustained growth and success. It is important that they focus on their Strategic Development plan now and don’t wait until it is too late. Too late that they do not have the people who are able to learn and perform the roles and responsibilities needed for sustained growth. Do we have the people that can respond to the rapidly changing, highly competitive marketplace?

Most companies have not yet assessed the talent within their organization. How can the learning and training components be applied when you don’t know what is needed to develop the people? People are starting to talk about succession planning only because a lot of key people are leaving the workforce for retirement or alternative careers. I joined a pharmaceutical company in the late sixties and within three weeks, the company has decided that I was a “High Potential”….an HP as we called it back then. A fast track of combined learning and training programs were laid out before me while at the same time, my performance was monitored as if I was under the microscope. It appears that many companies have strayed away from labeling “high potentials” and providing a program to accelerate their careers within the company. Now, I know many companies have accelerated programs and call these designated potential leaders something, like top producers, achievers, or whatever.

It just seems like the same old story. We have been concerned about this problem for many, many years but we have done nothing to provide a fully integrated set of human resource functions that can be called a people development process. We hesitate to assess anyone or anything because it will cause conflict and we can’t have conflict when we need to retain good talent.

Is Talent Management really meeting the needs of most companies? What are we waiting for? The leadership of our companies must step up and focus on a Strategic Development Plan that includes people, processes, and performance. The integration of those three entities often results in employee engagement, motivation, and success.

Human Resources in many companies is defined as the human capital experts. So, when are these so-called experts going to jump up and down and give their leadership team a real assessment of the culture, the people, and the potential to more forward while sustaining growth and reaching goals? It will probably be when all the talent has left.