Thursday, December 27, 2012

Generational Difference at the School Bus Stop!

The difference in generations can be found at the bus stop - and it can be applied to your company today.

The loyalists told us over and over that they had to walk for miles through rain, sleet and hail to get to
school some five miles away.

The Baby-Boomers would have walked to elementary school if it didn't exceed a certain mileage, and if
it did, you would have bus service. Few would drive to High School.

The X and Y generation would rush to the bus stop and make it in the nick of time. Most would drive to
High School in vehicles their parents would die for.

Today’s generation today is driven to the bus stop mostly in Lexus’. All of the children remain in the
vehicle when the weather is too cold or hot (Below 50 or above 70). Only when the school bus comes
to a complete stop do they start to prepare for the 10 yard walk to the bus. No sense of urgency is
exhibited at any point in time. The pace was classified as “snail-like”.

Cars behind the stopped school bus are now backing up for miles. Most of the people in those cars will
now be late for work.

Their boss has heard this excuse before….but it is very real!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Resolution - Develop Leadership, Don't Train - The #1 Reason Leadership Development Fails

The #1 Reason Leadership Development Fails

Over the years, I’ve observed just about every type of leadership development program on the planet. And the sad thing is, most of them don’t even come close to accomplishing what they were designed to do – build better leaders. In today’s column I’ll share the #1 reason leadership development programs fail, and give you 20 things to focus on to ensure yours doesn’t become another casualty.
According to the American Society of Training and Development, U.S. businesses spend more than $170 Billion dollars on leadership-based curriculum, with the majority of those dollars being spent on “LeadershipTraining.” Here’s the thing – when it comes to leadership, the training industry has been broken for years. You don’t train leaders you develop them – a subtle yet important distinction lost on many. Leadership training is alive and well, but it should have died long, long ago.
This may be heresy to some – but training is indeed the #1 reason leadership development fails. While training is often accepted as productive, it rarely is. The terms training and development have somehow become synonymous when they are clearly not. This is more than an argument based on semantics – it’s painfully real. I’ll likely take some heat over my allegations against the training industry’s negative impact on the development of leaders, and while this column works off some broad generalizations, in my experience having worked with literally thousands of leaders, they are largely true.
An Overview of The Problem
My problem with training is it presumes the need for indoctrination on systems, processes and techniques. Moreover, training assumes that said systems, processes and techniques are the right way to do things. When a trainer refers to something as “best practices” you can with great certitude rest assured that’s not the case. Training focuses on best practices, while development focuses on next practices. Training is often a rote, one directional, one dimensional, one size fits all, authoritarian process that imposes static, outdated information on people. The majority of training takes place within a monologue (lecture/presentation) rather than a dialog. Perhaps worst of all, training usually occurs within a vacuum driven by past experience, not by future needs.
The Solution
The solution to the leadership training problem is to scrap it in favor of development. Don’t train leaders, coach them, mentor them, disciple them, and develop them, but please don’t attempt to train them. Where training attempts to standardize by blending to a norm and acclimating to the status quo, development strives to call out the unique and differentiate by shattering the status quo. Training is something leaders dread and will try and avoid, whereas they will embrace and look forward to development. Development is nuanced, contextual, collaborative, fluid, and above all else, actionable.
The following 20 items point out some of the main differences between training and development:
1. Training blends to a norm – Development occurs beyond the norm.
2. Training focuses on technique/content/curriculum – Development focuses on people.
3. Training tests patience – Development tests courage.
4. Training focuses on the present – Development focuses on the future.
5. Training adheres to standards – Development focuses on maximizing potential.
6. Training is transactional – Development is transformational.
7. Training focuses on maintenance – Development focuses on growth.
8. Training focuses on the role – Development focuses on the person.
9. Training indoctrinates – Development educates.
10. Training maintains status quo – Development catalyzes innovation.
11. Training stifles culture – Development enriches culture.
12. Training encourages compliance – Development emphasizes performance.
13. Training focuses on efficiency – Development focuses on effectiveness.
14. Training focuses on problems  - Development focuses on solutions.

15. Training focuses on reporting lines – Development expands influence.
16. Training places people in a box – Development frees them from the box.
17. Training is mechanical – Development is intellectual.
18. Training focuses on the knowns – Development explores the unknowns.
19. Training places people in a comfort zone – Development moves people beyond their comfort zones.
20. Training is finite – Development is infinite.
If what you desire is a robotic, static thinker – train them. If you’re seeking innovative, critical thinkers – develop them. I have always said it is impossible to have an enterprise which is growing and evolving if leadership is not.

Resolution - Retain Top Talent - 10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You

Have you ever noticed leaders spend a lot of time talking about talent, only to make the same mistakes over and over again? Few things in business are as costly and disruptive as unexpected talent departures. With all the emphasis on leadership development, I always find it interesting so many companies seem to struggle with being able to retain their top talent. In today’s column, I’ll share some research, observations, and insights on how to stop the talent door from revolving.
Ask any CEO if they have a process for retaining and developing talent and they’ll quickly answer in the affirmative. They immediately launch into a series of soundbites about the quality of their talent initiatives, the number of high-potentials in the nine box, blah, blah, blah. As with most things in the corporate world, there is too much process built upon theory and not nearly enough practice built on experience.
When examining the talent at any organization look at the culture, not the rhetoric – look at the results, not the commentary about potential. Despite some of the delusional perspective in the corner office, when we interview their employees, here’s what they tell us:
  • More than 30% believe they’ll be working someplace else inside of 12 months.
  • More than 40% don’t respect the person they report to.
  • More than 50% say they have different values than their employer.
  • More than 60% don’t feel their career goals are aligned with the plans their employers have for them.
  • More than 70% don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer.
So, for all those employers who have everything under control, you better start re-evaluating. There is an old saying that goes; “Employees don’t quit working for companies, they quit working for their bosses.” Regardless of tenure, position, title, etc., employees who voluntarily leave, generally do so out of some type of perceived disconnect with leadership.
Here’s the thing – employees who are challenged, engaged, valued, and rewarded (emotionally, intellectually & financially) rarely leave, and more importantly, they perform at very high levels. However if you miss any of these critical areas, it’s only a matter of time until they head for the elevator. Following are 10 reasons your talent will leave you – smart leaders don’t make these mistakes:
1. You Failed To Unleash Their Passions: Smart companies align employee passions with corporate pursuits. Human nature makes it very difficult to walk away from areas of passion. Fail to understand this and you’ll unknowingly be encouraging employees to seek their passions elsewhere.
2. You Failed To Challenge Their Intellect: Smart people don’t like to live in a dimly lit world of boredom. If you don’t challenge people’s minds, they’ll leave you for someone/someplace that will.
3. You Failed To Engage Their Creativity: Great talent is wired to improve, enhance, and add value. They are built to change and innovate. TheyNEED to contribute by putting their fingerprints on design. Smart leaders don’t place people in boxes – they free them from boxes. What’s the use in having a racehorse if you don’t let them run?
4. You Failed To Develop Their Skills:Leadership isn’t a destination – it’s a continuum. No matter how smart or talented a person is, there’s always room for growth, development, and continued maturation. If you place restrictions on a person’s ability to grow, they’ll leave you for someone who won’t.
5. You Failed To Give Them A Voice: Talented people have good thoughts, ideas, insights, and observations. If you don’t listen to them, I can guarantee you someone else will.
6. You Failed To Care: Sure, people come to work for a paycheck, but that’s not the only reason. In fact, many studies show it’s not even the most important reason. If you fail to care about people at a human level, at an emotional level, they’ll eventually leave you regardless of how much you pay them.
7. You Failed to Lead: Businesses don’t fail, products don’t fail, projects don’t fail, and teams don’t fail – leaders fail. The best testament to the value of leadership is what happens in its absence – very little. If you fail to lead, your talent will seek leadership elsewhere.
8. You Failed To Recognize Their Contributions: The best leaders don’t take credit – they give it. Failing to recognize the contributions of others is not only arrogant and disingenuous, but it’s as also just as good as asking them to leave.
9. You Failed To Increase Their Responsibility: You cannot confine talent – try to do so and you’ll either devolve into mediocrity, or force your talent seek more fertile ground. People will gladly accept a huge workload as long as an increase in responsibility comes along with the performance and execution of said workload.
10. You Failed To Keep Your Commitments: Promises made are worthless, but promises kept are invaluable. If you break trust with those you lead you will pay a very steep price. Leaders not accountable to their people, will eventually be held accountable by their people.
If leaders spent less time trying to retain people, and more time trying to understand them, care for them, invest in them, and lead them well, the retention thing would take care of itself. Thoughts?
Originally posted on

Resolution - Get Your Employees Engaged

Although this video is from the UK, the point is that engagement is extremely important no matter what position your employees hold. Make employee engagement a resolution this year.......

Resolution - Make Feedback a Priority - Fast Feedback for Managers

Summary: The best managers constantly seek out feedback. Here's some advice on how.

You talk to your direct reports on a regular basis, and none of them have raised concerns or complaints about your job performance. So you can go on in confidence that you're managing them well, right?
Well, maybe not. According to Scott Eblin, author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success, "The higher you rise in an organization, the less likely people are to tell you what's really going on." If you're an executive and you want to avoid blind spots about your organization's performance as well as your own, "You need to regularly ask for feedback."
Another reason to seek out feedback: By doing so, "You send a strong message about the kind of organization you want to lead—one that's collaborative, open to new ideas, and gets things done," Eblin says.
To establish that kind of atmosphere, the traditional yearly performance review isn't enough. It's outdated, Eblin says, and "Things move too fast for any feedback generated on an annual basis to be meaningful."
Instead, he suggests working to create a culture of continuous feedback within your organization "so positive behaviors can be reinforced and less productive behaviors can be corrected."
Once you start fielding that continuous feedback, "Don't debate it," Eblin says. "Take note of it and look for patterns around what you should keep doing and what you should do differently."
And don't be shy about the progress you're sure to make as a result. After all, Eblin says, the best way for executives to create a culture of continuous feedback is to "seek it out and then demonstrate that they're doing something with it."
Originally Found on

Celebrate Success

4 reasons you should celebrate your success

A friend and I were talking recently about growing up watching ABC's Wide World of Sports on the weekends. While one mention of the line from their intro - "the thrill of victory...and the agony of defeat" - immediately brought to mind the image of a ski jumper biting it on the way down, I realized that I couldn't for the life of me remember what the accompanying clip for the thrill of victory was. 
Unfortunately, a lot of people live their lives that way. They remember the failures and face plants. Sometimes they even obsess on them. But when they do something well, they scarcely pause to acknowledge it, much less remember it down the road. 
When it comes to pursuing their passion, focusing on the negative and ignoring the positive can be a dream-killer. It's vital that you celebrate your success along the way. Why? Because when you focus on the negative and don't reinforce the positive...
It eats away at your self-confidence. 
When you jump off the cookie cutter path and pursue a career that is uniquely right for you, it is almost by definition about taking the road less traveled. And navigating that road successfully takes self-confidence. 
Dwelling on the failures and face plants along the way does anything but build self-confidence. It repeatedly sends the message, "You're not good enough. You can't do it right. When you try, you fail." Even if most of your efforts result in success, focusing on your failures is guaranteed to paint a dismal picture. 
It distorts reality.
Minimizing (or ignoring) your successes and enlarging your failures distorts your picture of reality. It's like one of those fun-house mirrors that make you look short and fat or tall and skinny. And because your experience of reality is created by your perception of it, everywhere you look you see the negative element relentlessly confirmed. 
It creates a falsely negative pattern.
When the majority of your attention is aimed at the face plants, that's the pattern you will see. Each failure becomes a clear confirmation that you don't have what it takes. After all, look at all these other botched efforts you can point to to back that up, right? 
It numbs you to your positive achievements.
When you're not in the habit of acknowledging the positive, it takes an ultra-blast of success to get your attention. Run-of-the-mill achievements scarcely make it onto your radar screen as you turn your attention to what's next. 
The more you practice acknowledging the positive, the more positive you will notice. It's a bit like when I start making an effort to remember my dreams in the morning. When I do that consistently, after a few days my brain will automatically start going over the dreams when I wake up. When I focus on remembering dreams, eventually the number of dreams I remember shoots up. 
Try this: Start training your brain to acknowledge your successes, both large and small. For the next week, challenge yourself to find at least three things you did well each day. They could be work-related, or relationship-oriented, or hobby-focused, or any of a bazillion other ways you show up in life. 
At the end of each day, write them down. Spend five minutes acknowledging to yourself that you did them well. Better yet, acknowledge to someone else that you did them well. Get it out of your brain and into the open. 
One last idea to help you tilt the scale in the direction of a positive perception. Every time you find yourself dwelling on something you did wrong, stop yourself and ask, "OK, what have I done right today/this week/this month?" Redirect your mind and celebrate your successes.
-- Originally Found on

Resolution - Increase Employee Engagement - Video 1 Second of Your Work Day

(From Two days after launching a Kickstarter project, Cesar Kuriyama found himself bombarded with questions and requests. It was tempting to work around the clock. But at 6 p.m., he got up from his desk and went for a bike ride. Because he needed to find a moment worth recording.

Kuriyama is fundraising for an app that makes it easy for anyone to record one second each day of their lives. It’s based on an experiment he has been conducting on his own life since February 20, 2011, when after saving for years, he quit his job to take a year off from work. To chronicle what he assumed would be the most adventurous year of his life; he started selecting one second of video footage from each day. His plan was to compile the moments into a six-minute memento. Soon, however, he found the project was doing more than documenting his life--it was changing the decisions he made about how to spend time.

Click Image Above to Watch His Video

“[The project has] made me realize I need to do one interesting thing to make today count,” he says. “It’s been an incalculably positive influence on my life. The reason that I’ve really decided to stop everything and try to build this thing is that I genuinely think it can have that same influence for others." Here’s how he believes chronicling a life in one-second chunks can change it.

Business Resolution  –  Record 1 second every  work day for a month – the good and the bad.

 How can this change the way you work and the way that your employees work? It makes you very conscious of your actions. Were they good? Were they bad? Were there any employee successes? Were you motivating? Were you prepared?

Use this as an experiment in your company. Try it for a month and get the entire company involved, no matter your size company 1 – 1,000, video one second of every day. Find out if there is anyone that can stitch them together in your company, since the app isn’t created yet.

After the month is over, make sure that you have a special meeting where everyone can watch them, especially if multiple people are recording these 1 second tidbits. In the meeting, get feedback if it was successful. If it was successful, continue it and see how people’s attitudes change when they realize they need to record 1 second every day. This will be sure to increase employee engagement!

Resolution - Increase Employee Productivity - The Largest Risk in Your Business

In a recent Taleo Research Study, they reported that the largest risk to their company’s bottom line and brand is low employee engagement and productivity. Most companies are asking people to do more with less because companies can no longer afford to have suboptimal performance from any employee.

No one argues the fact that there is a direct correlation between engagement and productivity. The real question is, how do we sustain high levels of productivity on the job while keeping people engaged?

The first step, in an ongoing sustainability process, is to teach the employee to become goal-oriented. All of our Leadership and Management Development Courses are goal-oriented and we teach people how to get results. Performance and productivity enhancement is defined as our desired outcome.

The second step is to align the business goals to talent goals. Executive level management must provide the vision and articulate the strategy. Mid level management must provide a work environment that allows the strategy to be driven while presenting a responsibility, accountability and self-empowerment culture to support this highly engaged workforce.

Our Making of an Effective Manager helps mid-level management get executives and employees on the same boat while keeping it on the straight and narrow path to success. Middle Management is what makes things happen. If they are not trained, they will not understand the value of setting goals, and nor will they know how to get employees to realize they are part of that goal.

It is documented that 85% find linking talent management to corporate goals challenging. The reason for the high percentage is that most people are not goal-oriented and until they learn the competency that will help them get the desired results, they will struggle.

The value from engagement and alignment can pay big dividends for your company’s future. As an owner and/or HR professional, it is your job to drive the process and select the right tools to achieve the desired results.

Call Innovative Leadership now to help you define your plan of action for engagement and alignment at 609.390.2830. Or click here to learn more about The Making of an Effective Manager.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

7 Signs Your Employees are NOT Engaged

1.       Employee tells the boss that the company does not have a vision or mission statement.
2.       Employee states that the core values of the company do not make sense.
3.       Employee blames another employee for the mistake.
4.       Employee finds no meaning in their work.
5.       Employee sits alone in the cafeteria and never socializes in the workplace.
6.       Employee doesn’t find anything positive after a presentation by the CEO or senior staff.
7.       There are no other employees on their facebook page.