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What Are the Best Leadership Development Goals?

  
  
  
  
  
  
Increased professional presence, employee developmentAs leaders, we continuously assess and reassess our goals. If we don’t, the goals that made sense last year, last quarter, or last week, could no longer be relevant in the same way, or at the very minimum, should be taken down a few steps in the line of priorities that you have in front of you and replaced with other development goals that speak to the present or future of your company and career. Imagine the twinge of regret felt by Montgomery Ward and Sears when they overlooked small, rural markets. Now all of those markets are home to at least one Walmart store.

According to one contributor in a recent Forbes article, “Airlines that were once great, such as Eastern, TWA and Pan Am, no longer exist. Conversely, while those airlines declined, Southwest Airlines chose to serve markets that had not been served by the traditional carriers, standardizing their aircraft, keeping fares low and creating a highly committed workforce.  This allowed it to be consistently profitable and acquire its largest competitor on its path to becoming a major industry player.”


We tend to work on our weaknesses, right? Think back to school, when you had to give extra study time to subjects that you had no natural proclivity toward. The same is generally still true now, with respect to becoming a well-rounded, competent, productive leader who is helping his or her employees become more accountable and productive, too. Identifying and working on weaknesses does help improve personal effectiveness and professional presence, and overall competence. But the dirty little secret is that concentrating on strengths can bear two- to three-times the results!  


Leadership and employee development programs that provide a balance of learning where challenges need to faced and honing current competencies will result in a much higher return in the workplace. Essentially, “Focusing on weaknesses will help leaders to be “less bad” in the same way clinical psychology has helped people to be less mentally ill. But no matter how hard you work on curing a weakness it will seldom make the level of impact you could achieve by honing a strength.Making weaknesses “less bad” makes for mediocre leaders. But our research shows that focusing on even a small number of signature strengths can produce extraordinary success. These are the goals that make the most dramatic and positive impact on the people around you.”*

At EDSI, our hallmark programs, Professional Presence in a Casual World (PPCW), Communicating to Manage Performance (CMP), and Increasing Personal Effectiveness (IPC) have their foundation in increasing self-awareness of current skillsets and areas that may be challenges. Each program is a balance of both improvement on current strengths and identifying new areas that need to be improved. We also help people gain an understanding of how to take others’ skillsets and communication styles into account, resulting in improved problem solving, increased effectiveness, higher productivity–and ultimately–improved profits and growth for the organization.

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com

Improve Your Personal Effectiveness with these Steps to Acountability

  
  
  
  
  
  

AccountabilityAccountability is one of the most powerful tools in personal effectiveness, productivity, and professional presence. Here is a sample of our most popular articles on how to improve personal accountability in your life, career, and your organization.

The Only "Real" Accountability

Regardless of how important we say accountability is, organizations tend to only bring up the term when there is a complete break down, and an obvious lack of accountability in a team, department or organization. That’s when we tend to unpack the overused business speak, and the Human Resources Department starts a new round of metrics, analytics and evaluations to increase accountability.

Those efforts are ultimately in vain if they are not working hand-in-hand with self-accountability.  Once change is initiated in your employees, you will see it spread throughout the workplace. READ MORE!

7 Ways to Keep High Performers Increasing Personal Effectiveness

It’s the good swimmers who are most likely to jump ship, and this holds true in the workplace. How do you keep the best swimmers from doing the backstroke into the sunset?

Make your workplace great.

Some basic, but often overlooked qualities have the potential to make lousy or even good workplaces into great ones. For example, how do you typically set the stage for new ideas and innovation in your organization? Do employees trust their managers and leaders? If not, how can you shift their perception? Research proves that organizations which are considered “great places to work” are also more profitable than other companies, so learning to make your workplace great should be a priority for you and the other leaders in your organization. READ MORE!


This Is How New Leaders Maintain Effectiveness

Dear Suzanne,
I have been the human resources director of a mid-sized law firm for three years. It’s a position I’ve been working toward for many years, and it I like the firm I work for. I’ve had three years of a high-stress environment, where I’ve worked with our CEO to tackle major changes in the firm.  I’ve met many of my personal and professional stretch goals in this position and don’t want to give it up.

In the last year, I’ve become much less effective, and haven’t been able to get traction on any of the projects and goals that moved ahead so quickly in the first two years. FIND OUT SUZANNE'S ADVICE!

Convert Your Power into Performance

Being appreciated is a fundamental human need. As a matter of fact, many studies have shown that one of the top five needs expressed by employees is to feel fully appreciated for their work. Essentially, we do more for those who appreciate it.  So why is employee appreciation often a blind spot for leaders? We may think that a remark or two regarding recent project successes is enough, but appreciating employees comes down to taking action. Create defining moments that mark milestones of achievement. Integrate milestones into all of your projects and processes.

According to Nobel Prize winning scientist Daniel Kahneman, we experience approximately 20,000 individual moments in a waking day Each “moment” lasts a few seconds. If you consider your strongest memories, positive or negative, you’ll notice the imagery in your mind is actually defined by your recollection of a precise moment in time. FIND OUT MORE!

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com 

10 Reasons Why Your Company Should Invest in Management Training

  
  
  
  
  
  

Management Training, Executive CoachingManage today, lead tomorrow. Unless your company is just hiring leaders from outside versus developing their own. Most companies have a strategy that combines the two options of fostering leadership from within and hiring specific skills from the outside. Either way, it is simply sound management to make sure the leaders that are brought up through the ranks are agile, competent, and can handle any challenges that are coming their way.

Employees quit managers, not companies. The most common reason for employee exodus is a bad manager. It makes practical financial sense to ensure that your managers are highly competent, are able to communicate to manage performance and are personally effective.
Assumed competence is dangerous. Just because Joe was a great team member, we may assume that he’ll seamlessly fit into a new leadership role. That assumption will result in failed promotions and the loss of star players. Decreasing or canceling management training programs entirely is simply a risk most companies would not take, if they thought through the chance they’re taking by throwing people into new positions without the tools they need to be successful.

Uneven management is the death knell of productivity and morale. Your organization’s leadership team is a cadre of different personalities and skill sets. Ask yourself, do they all fall within a defined band of competence, or are they all over the map in their performance management, communication effectiveness and professional presence? You can’t make every manager the same -and wouldn’t want to- but you do want to ensure that they all fall within an acceptable and even excellent level of business acumen and management skills. A  practical management training program is how you’ll get there.

Well-developed managers and leaders build productivity and profits. Leaders with a developed understanding of behavior styles, flexing styles to achieve effective communication, organizational effectiveness, and active listening, are the backbone of your organization’s success. How can we let that critical piece of the success puzzle be left up to chance?
Various studies show that if you invest in human assets you can increase productivity by 5.2%. Overall company productivity would increase by 21% (www.forbes.com).

Decreasing hiring and firing will directly boost the profits. The cost of a good hire can be as much as 1.5 times the salary of the person you are trying to replace. It is much easier and cost-effective to train the employees you already have than to start from scratch.

Your business, like most businesses, wants to thrive. To cushion against market unkowns, economic fluctuations, and instill a competitive edge in today's environment, you will need to ensure that your leaders are competent and can innovate their way to your organization's growth and success.

ROI of investing into leadership and management-Leadership and management are the major driving forces of any company. They determine the overall company performance and profits. According to Forbes.com, you can boost your company-wide profit margins by 47% and can experience 86% better company value. Companies that invested in leadership development programs are amongst the top most admired companies list in Fortune 500 Companies. Make sure your organization is adopting the best practices of these most admired Fortune 500 companies!

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com

Practical Do's & Don'ts of Corporate Cultural Change Management

  
  
  
  
  
  

Corporate Culture Change ManagementIn the last post we covered Critical DO's for Cultural Change. Here's the flip side of the same conversation. Like the first one, it offers practical takeaways to successfully lead your organization through cultural change.

Critical DON'Ts of Cultural Change

Don’t Disrespect tradition. Your entire organizational culture may require shifting because of a merger, a management change, a market shift, or simply because it’s become obvious that the current culture isn’t serving the organization or its customer base, ensure that you don’t malign the previous culture, mission, or corporate atmosphere. Imagine being in a job interview and you consciously show disrespect for your previous employer. No matter what, it will create an integrity issue. Instead, concentrate on moving forward.


Don’t waste the urgency for change. Many new executives come on board in the middle of a crisis. This has happened with Chrysler, Ford, Pepsi, and countless other companies. Leverage the current crisis to gain energy for the cultural change you are fostering.
Don’t disregard current employees. Changes may have to be made in the process of major organizational cultural changes. Still, tread carefully with the current employee base. Morale will plummet if you disregard all current voices in lieu of new, unknown leaders.


Don’t be afraid to take the lead. Shaping and changing your culture has to come from the top. Yes, it will require adoption from every employee, but that can only come from a united leadership team leading those changes.

Don’t get distracted by early gains. Initial changes are usually painless and fairly easy to make. Don’t make the mistake of celebrating these too early or too much. You’re probably on the right path. It’s better to acknowledge early gains and keep moving forward.


In the words of Steve Pemberton, chief diversity officer of Walgreen Co., “Make certain you don’t confuse that initial aesthetic pull of the culture change with the actual work of instilling and driving culture,” he said. “Because invariably [that] is what you’re going to be measured on.”



Don’t neglect to explain the changes. Leaders adopting and advocating for change isn’t enough. As we all know, people need to hang their hat on the meaning behind and reasons for change. Help them reframe the changes -especially the extreme shifts that might be coming up- by backing up your efforts with market reasons, giving the changes a direct relationship to the business success, or fulfilling the organization’s mission. 



Don’t dump culture change on HR! CEOs tend to give marching orders and then dump cultural and organizational change on the HR or communications groups. 

Instead, take tangible actions right from the start and keep the momentum going. Instead, set out core values, define any aspirational elements and then develop a plan to move forward. What behaviors does the company expect from its leaders? Why are these behaviors important? What actions or events have to happen for those behaviors to be altered long-term? It’s not enough to put posters on the wall with core values and a mission statement.

Don’t forget to vary methods of recognition. Financial recognition can only take you so far.  Focus on creating an organization that integrates a variety of recognition methods, both small and publicly impactful. Everything from personal emails to public awards are fair game and have proven to be effective.  



Words of Wisdom

"Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed – the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day." – Frances Hesselbein

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." – Niccolo Machiavelli

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com

Practical Do’s and Don’ts of Corporate Cultural Change, Part 1

  
  
  
  
  
  

Employee Development, Corporate cultural ChangeLeadership drives cultural change, and it can be the toughest challenge for any of us. Here are 8 practical takeaways for how to get started and keep the momentum going, where others lose focus and eventually abandon their cultural change efforts.


Critical DO’s for Cultural Change

1. Improve your development programs. Development programs are a pivotal way to make cultural change. It outwardly reflects the organization’s priorities, and as we all know, actions speak much louder than words. Carefully back up your short statement (from #2 above), by taking tangible action. Are your employee development programs focused on increasing overall personal effectiveness? How about professional presence? These kinds of   core skills can be a great starting point for focusing employees in the face of organizational change.

2. Don’t be petty.  If you haven’t done it already, it’s time to let go of policies that include docking people who come in a few minutes late from a lunch break, because they were helping a customer who needed them. Concentrate on results, not time schedules. This kind of thinking will gain loyalty and lose many wasted hours of complaint time at the water cooler. As a leader, you can help everyone concentrate on what’s important and leave the rest in the rear view mirror.  


3. Short is good. Clarify your cultural decision in a very brief statement. How are you going to treat customers? How will the organization change communications? Make it explicit and simple. Then spread it around the organization.


4. Change the way you hire. How can you change your hiring decisions to reflect the new cultural values? Review the current priorities. How can the process be modified to ensure that you are hiring and onboarding people who will embrace the new culture that you are building?


5. What are your standards? Everything that reasonably can be expected to happen to customers needs its own standard. Every standard needs to include the reason for the standard, so that your employees know when it makes sense to deviate from it to accomplish.


6. Daily reinforcement is key. Spend time every day (or at least every week) keeping the new values at front of mind for everyone in the organization. Take the Ritz-Carlton as an example. They spend a few minutes every day discussing just one of the cultural values or service standards that the company follows. It’s not just a plaque on the way into the lobby.  


7. Are you measuring the right things? Sometimes it’s easier to enlist a data point as a way to make decisions. Upon closer examination, you may find that it isn’t incentivizing the behavior you REALLY want to see in your employees. Should a call center measure success in number of calls made per day, or number of solutions and happy customers served? The former is the most common practice. The latter is much more effective. What can you change in your organization?


8. Wherever possible, let employees develop their own jobs. As much as you can, let your employees play an active part in their own responsibilities. As recently noted in an online Forbes article: “Let your employees know what they need to get done but not necessarily how they should go about designing their day and carrying out their duties. Because if employees are only doing things right because you spelled out every little thing out, even if you do so very, very elegantly, you haven’t created a culture, and you haven’t created an approach that is sustainable.  A culture is a living thing, powered by and kept up to date by the people who are encouraged to be, in a meaningful way, part of it.”


We have covered some of the core DO’s for successful cultural change. In Part 2, we’ll cover the DON’Ts, which are equally as important.

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com 

6 Ways to Keep Your Star Players from Walking Out the Door

  
  
  
  
  
  

Employee RetentionEmployee development is imperative for keeping your team on track and engaging them in their current position. Research has shown that developing and implementing a career plan is one of the core ways of keeping them ready to perform and even increase performance. But what if you invest in training your star players and they use their new skill set to walk out your door and find their next job?

Here is how to keep your star players walking out the door.

  1. Be proactive. Consistent engagement with your employees is the first line of defense in keeping them from leaving the company, or even worse, being poached by a competitor. Because employees often leave their manager versus the organization, make sure that you are not the manager that they are trying to leave! With consistent engagement, you will have the opportunity to simultaneously help them develop their career plan, and find out how you may be misfiring on communication or planning issues. The average employee tenure is shorter now than it has been in the past, particularly among millenials. With lifetime employment in the rearview mirror, it is especially critical for leaders to communicate well and strengthen their skills.
  2. Reward the good with the best. Consistent recognition is an invaluable tool in employee retention. Failing to acknowledge their hard work and accomplishments (small or large) is a quick way to ensure disengagement. Keep letting them know their contributions and reward them appropriately. A comprehensive development plan for your star players will pay off. How about your average performers? Develop another plan for them, and consistently convey their potential.
  3. Align talent and goals. One size does not fit all. Where possible, give responsibilities and projects that specifically match the employee’s natural talents and career goals. It will help establish and maintain meaning. Having meaningful work is one of the top reasons that employees stay working for an employer.
  4. Take a hard look at your own role in communication problems. Do your employees have a clear understanding of the organization’s mission? How about your core culture and the department’s priorities? Communicate it clearly and often. Give all of your employees the opportunity to assess the organization and department goals, and how they fit into their own career plans.
  5. Offer perks. As leaders, we all have limitations as to what we can offer our employees. Budget limitations are the most imposing and prevalent. The good news is that money isn’t what keeps your high performing employees from leaving. What other perks can you provide? A department party? How about an afternoon off? How about other cultural perks such as public recognition? Gather the perks you can offer so you are ready to use them whenever you need a way to recognize one of your employees.
  6. Find their pain. Look for the consistent stressors in your workplace. It might be something as small as a copier that is always breaking down, or as important as one member who consistently causes conflicts among their team.  Let them know it’s your priority to resolve the stressor and follow through on it.
  7. Show gratitude. It sounds simple, but it has great impact. Say thank you and let each person know the value of their contributions. Be specific and talk about their behavior, not their personality. Consider Indra Noovi, the CEO of Pepsi. She has adopted the habit of writing personal letters to the parents of her direct reports. She writes, “...therefore I’m writing to thank you for the wonderful gift of your son, who is doing this at Pepsi, and what a wonderful job this person is doing.”  This is not a typical practice, and while most leaders would not go to such lengths, the lesson is clear. -Gratitude pays off in engaged employees. 

4 Solutions to Employee Engagement & Morale Problems Part 1

  
  
  
  
  
  

Employee MoraleHuman resources are an underutilized asset of most organizations. We all know this, so why don’t we make the most of our employees’ capabilities? If our facilities are no longer serving us, we move the company. If our product is sub-par, we increase quality and production values. It all sounds simple, right? The challenge of the human aspect is, well, because we’re all human. There isn’t just one solution to any problem. With issues of employee development, engagement and morale, all of which can drastically impact productivity and profits, we need to address each one with multiple solutions.

Here are 4 simple solutions to common morale issues. You can implement them right away, and realize change in your workplace within a matter of weeks or even days. The next post will give you 4 more solutions. Put them together and start your week with by giving your team a brand new attitude and outlook on the company, their jobs, and you as their leader.

Are they Productive or Just "Busy?"
Sometimes busy equals productive, but let’s face it, much of the time our employees slip into a groove of keeping busy and keeping their heads down. You may be guilty of this yourself at times. What this means is that they are light years away from tapping into their full capacity. People have to put in all they have. Helping them focus on their strengths and areas where they can improve, giving them the incentive to be self-accountable will keep their eyes on their career goals and milestones, and away from water cooler conversations.

Don’t Succumb to Typical Communication Issues
It can be tiresome to continue hearing about how “communication is king,” right? Well, the truth is that the leaders who can actually develop sophisticated communication skills are the ones who can build positive, productive teams and cheerleaders for their products and organization. Foster an environment of openness, so people feel they can share ideas and opinions without reproach.  British writer, St. John Ervine once said, "To hear nothing but what is pleasing is to make a pillow of the mind."

Make Yourself More Accessible
Focus less on meetings and more on accessibility. What? Aren’t they the same thing? No, they aren’t. Take a look at your typical weekly schedule. What meetings do you dread? Which ones could you cut out? Use that time to increase open office time and informal interactions with your team. It will probably go a longer way toward increased morale and productivity than another meeting where everyone goes around the table, each giving a mindless update. How about slashing that weekly department meeting time in half and sending out a a single email update?

Establish and Commit to a Professional Plan
Everyone wants to grow personally and professionally. It keeps people engaged, looking toward the future, and increases productivity while they are striving. So why do skill building and employee development programs get cut to the bare minimum? Running as fast and as hard as possible does not lead to more productivity. It leads to burn out. Let’s all finally realize that we need to work smarter. Prioritize skill building and employee development once and for all. After all, once the newest project is finished, there will be another one right on its tail, and another mindless frenzy will begin. Stop the madness. Help your employees learn to think clearly, problem solve, communicate, become accountable, and take their own initiative to solve problems. That’s what you will gain through consistent, high quality training and employee development programs.

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com 

“…an engaged employee understands what to do to help her company succeed, she feels emotionally connected to the organization and its leaders, and she is willing to put that knowledge and emotion into action to improve performance, her own and the organization’s.”

- from Closing the Engagement Gap

 

Convert Your Power into Performance & Accountability

  
  
  
  
  
  

employee appreciation, employee engagementBeing appreciated is a fundamental human need. As a matter of fact, many studies have shown that one of the top five needs expressed by employees is to feel fully appreciated for their work. Essentially, we do more for those who appreciate it.  So why is employee appreciation often a blind spot for leaders? We may think that a remark or two regarding recent project successes is enough, but appreciating employees comes down to taking action. Create defining moments that mark milestones of achievement. Integrate milestones into all of your projects and processes.

According to Nobel Prize winning scientist Daniel Kahneman, we experience approximately 20,000 individual moments in a waking day Each “moment” lasts a few seconds. If you consider your strongest memories, positive or negative, you’ll notice the imagery in your mind is actually defined by your recollection of a precise moment in time.*

What’s Your Ratio?
Think of your own defining moments. As a leader, you are able to produce for your team members the moments that they may look back on as marking major career hurdles crossed and successes achieved in their own careers. That kind of appreciation translates into sustained high accountability and performance. Look for moments where you can give positive feedback more frequently. Catch them doing something right and reinforce it! One recent study* revealed that workgroups with at least a 3-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions were significantly more productive than those having less than a 3-to-1 ratio. What do you think your current ratio is?

Improve Your Ratio to Increase Productivity

  • Tell a success story at a staff meeting. Stories are interesting then announcements, and engage the entire team. These stories become part of the folklore of the team, department, or company. It builds a rich and authentic corporate culture.  
  • Stop the regular work day and hold an impromptu special occasion or party, to celebrate milestones.
  • When possible, give them options. Offer team members a choice of project or role. This will lessen the time and effort required for them to have a stake in its success.
  • Say thank you!

Are They People or Just Employees?
Contributions are important, but the people behind them are even more so! Sincere interest in your employees will take their self-accountability and professional presence to the next level. Learn something new each day about your employees. Then weave that information into future conversations. Staying plugged in to your team members will show your sincerity. It’s easy to let days and even a week or more pass without any extended human interactions. Email does not do the job of sincerely appreciating your employees. We work in a high-tech world, but leadership is still a high-touch job.

Be available to them, regardless of your own busy schedule. Learn what makes each person ticks. It should be customized to each person, so personalize your recognition.

Provide opportunity, wherever possible. People want opportunities to improve personal effectiveness and knowing that their leader (and organization) is there to help them achieve their personal and career goals will give them incentive to increase performance. Remember, using your power to shift power to employees will come back to you in a solid team and star performers.

“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.” Mary Kay Ash

Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.” Stephen Covey

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com 

Master Leadership: 3 Steps to Engaging Hearts & Minds

  
  
  
  
  
  

Employee Development Systems, Employee EngagementElevating performance is an ongoing challenge for leaders of all stripes. Trust us, you’re not alone. After 30 years at Employee Development Systems, Inc. (EDSI) we have worked with organizations of all sizes and across many industries. Regardless of whether you’re in the health care, energy, legal fields, or any other industry, here is one set of best practices for engaging your employees.

Get back to the basics! Are you meeting their three intellectual needs of Achievement, Autonomy, and Mastery?

"It's not enough to be busy. The question is, what are we busy about?"

When you fulfill these needs, you create a self reinforcing cycle of improvement, growth and performance. Intellectual engagement is like a muscle-if you don’t use it, it will go away. Don’t let that happen to your team. The more they engage intellectually, the better their ability to perform.


Achievement
Everyone needs to feel like they are moving ahead in their professional and personal lives. EDSI takes on the professional realm. We have trained over XXX people. In that time, we can say with confidence that if people are moving ahead and engaged at work, they also will take the same concepts with them to their personal lives. It’s a marvelous side benefit of increasing engagement.

“Thought, not money, is the real business capital.”

What You Can Do
Elimate any barriers to achievement. Make it easy for your employees to succeed. Provide resources, give authority that matches responsibility, and be decisive with your decisions and timelines. If you don’t take your direction seriously, neither will your employees!

Autonomy
Involve team members in defining and improving their work processes. Some of them will contribute to major changes, others might just tweak a small routine in your workplace. Either way, People support what they create.
Determine the appropriate boundaries and defend them. Guidelines can help establish priorities. Broadly define the playing field, so employees have a strong understanding of the setting and organizational culture.

Mastery
Find a good fit between natural abilities and job requirements. Make this an ongoing responsibility of yours, as a leader.  One of the strongest human desires is to become a master -to know that they do something very well. Once this is fulfilled, minds are engaged and inspired. Consider combining tasks that require similar levels so you can more easily match the person’s skills to their job requirements. Automate as many routine tasks as possible. As much as possible, take the mindless work off the table entirely. Streamline inefficient processes that burn up your employees’ time and take away from their ability to master a critical skill. Outsource tasks that require significant effort but have little impact on the organizational culture.

The Most Important Element
YOU are the most important and powerful element in engaging your employees. Regardless of leadership style or organization, you are a coach for your team. Find opportunities to coach them in post-project reviews, customer meetings, conflicts with other departments, changes in priorities, miscommunications, and mistakes. Ongoing feedback increases engagement and keeps it at a higher level.

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” -Anne. M Mulcahy

"There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” – Jack Welch, former CEO of GE

“Our newest competitive advantage is our oldest one-our employees’ minds and hearts.”

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com 

Give Us Your Toughest Performance Management & Productivity Questions

  
  
  
  
  
  
Suzanne Updagraff, author and business leader

Dear Suzanne,
I have been the human resources director of a mid-sized law firm for three years. It’s a position I’ve been working toward for many years, and it I like the firm I work for. I’ve had three years of a high-stress environment, where I’ve worked with our CEO to tackle major changes in the firm.  I’ve met many of my personal and professional stretch goals in this position and don’t want to give it up.

In the last year, I’ve become much less effective, and haven’t been able to get traction on any of the projects and goals that moved ahead so quickly in the first two years.  I’m completely burned out, and my effectiveness seems to have drained away, along with my physical, mental, and emotional reserves. How can I get back on track and gain traction on my professional (and personal) goals?


Jeff
Austin, TX

Jeff,
First of all, congratulations on reaching your goals. You’re clearly on a great career path. I can understand why it has drained much of your energy. It’s time to get yourself back on track, and here’s how:

  • There are times when we all need to pull out the stops for a big project. This isn’t sustainable for the long term, so you need to normalize your schedule and workload. Decide that you don’t have a scheduling problem, you have a priority problem. It seems like everything on your list is important, but if you give it careful consideration, you’ll realize that some things really ARE more important than others. Carve out those projects and make the hard choices about what you can accomplish.
  • Take baby steps. You will feel much less overwhelmed if you break down your projects into daily tasks. While it’s important to keep the big picture in mind, that wide angle lens will not serve you on a day-to-day basis.
  • Wait and watch. You’re obviously a very ambitious and smart person, and those are the qualities that have gotten you this far. However, sometimes plowing forward on a project only digs you deeper in the wrong direction. Carefully consider what you decide to take on, and be up front about it with your colleagues. Trust me, they’ll respect you for your candor.
  • Flex your goals. Goals can be changed, and it may be time to give yours another look. You don’t need to keep a firm grip on every goal and project if its priority and role in the firm (and in your life) have changed.

I hope this helps! Let me know how it goes. I’m sure you’ll recalibrate and reenergize!

Sincerely,

Suzanne

Are you ready for more Dear Suzanne? Here are two more letters, where Suzanne tackles the real problems faced by your peers and colleagues.

Emergency Intervention for Performance Management

Dear Suzanne,
I  manage employees for a law firm in San Antonio. I know that star employees who leave an organization are often leaving the manager not the job itself. Recently I have had a few  resign, so I can’t help but ask myself if they are leaving because of my management style. If you had to make a short list for an emergency intervention of performance management, what would it be?

Find Out Suzanne's Advice

 

Impact Performance Now

Help! My Team Building Atmosphere Has Completely Broken Down!

Dear Suzanne,

As the general manager of a law firm, I am responsible for building and maintaining multiple teams, depending on the client and project. These days, law firms include many more roles than simply legal services. We often include an accountant, project manager, and outside content experts, depending on the case.

We have the age-old problem of how to build an effective team, and I'm looking for new insight and energy, so we can inject a true positive team atmosphere. Can you give me some advice?

Find Out Suzanne's Advice

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com 

 

 

 

 

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