So, I’ve Got a New Boss

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You got the job!!!! Congrats!

Which also means you’ve got a new boss. And there is that question in the back of your mind… what kind of boss will they be?

Micro-manage-y? Super hands off? Some type of balance between the two? Way too invested? Kind of aloof?

You know there is a chance for all of them.

And some people are great at expressing their expectations and others are not.

So, with that in mind, we’ve got a couple of suggestions on some types of conversations you may want to have.

First, learn about how you guys will be meeting.

  • Do you have weekly standing meetings?
  • Do you have meetings as things come up?
  • What’s their preference for how to schedule meetings?

Next, learn about their expectations on hearing about how things are going.

  • Do they want status updates? How often?
  • Do they only want to know when something has been completed?
  • Do they want these updates in meetings … or via email … or do they just want to be able to see what they need to in the tracking system you guys have?

Then, learn about how they want to be communicated with as issues arise.

  • Do they want to know as soon as you know there is a problem?
  • Do they want you guys to strategize on how to fix it together?
  • Do they prefer you to come to them with a strategy on how to fix it and they confirm?
  • Or, do they want you to try to fix it first and then come to them?

Let us know how these questions help you structure your new relationship with your boss- or if you have any additional tips you’ve found helpful during this exciting / fun/ and stressful transition time!

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Communicating for Results

Communicating for Results

Have you ever talked to someone and thought you all walked away clear on what needed to happen … and then it didn’t happen?

We can all probably think of a time like this.

As you are working to hit your yearly goals, we have Coach Steve Schmitt with us sharing some tips on how to communicate more clearly with your team!

Thanks, Steve!

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 1.05.58 PM.png“The key to achieving performance personally and professionally is repetition.

I think the best quote to illustrate what we all know to be true but sometimes don’t full acknowledge is by George Bernard Shaw that says, “the biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has happened.”

Just because we said something does not mean that they heard, understood, or agreed specifically. What’s the solution? I have three tips for you:

1) Communicate your messages many times through different methods. This can be through different mediums, in different venues, or with different words. This is where Leaders really get a chance to make a difference.

When you communicate your messages about your goals and results, be sure to be very specific, succinct, and simple.

2) Make sure to lead with what’s in it for them (why should they care or want to listen?). It’s extremely common to lead our conversations with what we want and the fact is – people take action when they know how they will benefit from it!

A helpful lens to use when we communicate our goals and desired results is that we are actually marketing. The essence of marketing is getting people to take the action we desire, and good marketing communicates the benefits to the buyer. Another way of looking at this is we’re getting buy-in. Let’s motivate our Team to produce the best results they are capable of by getting them to want to.

3) Our biggest and best communication medium is our actions, Your Team is listening to your actions (many times more so than your words), so let’s act in congruence with our marketing messages (oops, I mean business communications). To modify a saying from Ghandi, “be the action you wish to see in the organization”. Your actions are your words, your appearance, your expressions, your mannerisms, your behaviors, and oh yeah, your actions.

Let’s think of it this way, three simple words caused shampoo sales to skyrocket – “wash, rinse, repeat”. Do you think maybe we can cause performance to skyrocket if we “communicate, act and repeat”?”

This week, try out some of Steve’s tips and let us know what worked for you!

Accountability Doesn’t Happen by Coincidence Either

Accountability Doesn’t Happen by Coincidence Either

So, did you get to try out some of the accountability tips from last week?

We’ve got Kristin back this week to share the 4 more tips on our delegation checklist – where you assign tasks to your team members and hold them accountable to quality standards and deadlines!

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 1.52.01 PMTake it away, Kristin!

After you’ve had the chance to communicate the purpose of the project/task,  state the mission and core values the task supports, and explain the results you expect there are a couple additional tips you can try!

  • Identify checkpoints

Assign a date for an interim checkpoint or two and enter it into your calendar.   Depending on the person you are delegating to, the checkpoints you identify could be several one-on-one meetings to discuss progress to-date, a formal progress report, or a simple email from the team member describing progress. You might ask for a checkpoint report that covers three topics:

  • Successes and progress
  • Challenges or roadblocks
  • Help needed, if any

Some managers like to state a “no surprises” policy at this point. “No surprises” means that the team member is expected to communicate issues in meeting a deadline well BEFORE the deadline. I always tell my team members, “Bad news early is good news,” meaning, if I know that you can’t meet a deadline well in advance, we can do something about it. Don’t tell me on or after the deadline about problems – then it’s too late to save it.

  • Set a deadline and consequences for not meeting it

Clearly state the deadline for this task and why it is important. “Susie, we are not putting our best foot forward with the lousy copier we have, and it’s not sending the right message to our employees when we expect them to work with unreliable equipment. It’s vitally important that you have a new copier installed by April 15. I’m counting on you to do that, ok?”

The good news is that this process can expand or contract depending on the trustworthiness of the team member. If you are delegating to someone you already trust, you quickly hit on these steps. However, if you are delegating to a new person or a poor performer, you will want to follow this process to the letter. 

Let us know which tips you tried and like best!

And, if you want to learn more about accountability processes, check out Kristin Robertson’s book, Your Company Culture Ecosystem: Growing a Vibrant Business.

Accountability Doesn’t Happen by Accident

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What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “holding your team accountable”.

Probably that phrase causes a number of different thoughts to flood through your mind.

For the next two weeks, we have another one of our great Coaches, Kristin Robertson, sharing about accountability.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 1.52.01 PMTake it away, Kristin!

As a manager, you want your team to perform at peak levels of productivity, excellence, and creativity. And you naturally assume that each member of your team is equally excited about and responsible toward the team’s goals. So you assign people different tasks to do, expecting the best possible outcome.

Then a deadline arrives, and the assigned team member doesn’t produce what you expected – or worse, doesn’t produce anything at all, missing the deadline completely. You naturally blame the team member for being lazy, incompetent, or worse.

Stop. Often, it’s not the employee’s fault for missing the deadline. It could be yours.

Typically, the problem lies in how you assigned the project or task. Did you describe the desired outcome? Did you lay out the steps needed to get there? Did you assign a deadline?

Help is here in the form of a delegation checklist. Let’s start with a few tips now, and then check in on a few more next week!

This is something you can use to assign tasks to your team members and hold them accountable to quality standards and deadlines:

  • Communicate the purpose of the project/task

Describe to your team member the overall purpose or objective of the project. For example, if you’d like Susie to purchase a new copier for the office, you’d say, “Susie, the purpose of this project is to replace the old copier and ensure that the team can make clean, readable, and inexpensive copies on a reliable machine.”

  • State the mission and core values the task supports

Explain how this task supports your goals & objectives and upholds the core values of the organization. It might sound like this, “This will 1) help save time and money, supporting our core value of company growth, and 2) reduce stress on our workers, supporting our core value of taking care of our employees.”

  • Explain the results you expect

Clearly describe the results you expect. What are your criteria for successful completion of this project? How will you measure the results and what metrics do you expect to achieve? In our copier purchase example, you might say, “Susie, I need better-looking copies, a reliable and easy-to-use machine, and the cost over 5 years should be less than what we pay now.”

In this step, be sure to use follow-up questions to ensure understanding. You might ask, “Susie, how would you state the problem we’re trying to solve and the success criteria for this project?”

So, try these out and let us know what works for you!

How to Be a Great Manager if You’re Extroverted and you have an Introverted Team

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So, your extroverted. You love to be around your team and to talk out all our ideas and plans.

You get energized by having some alone time and you despise small talk.

And, your team? We’ll they despise small talk and need thinking time (alone!) to come up with their best ideas.

It can feel like a challenge when you want to hear their ideas on the spot.

This week we have Coach Judy Laws with us to share some thoughts on how to most successfully manage your introverted team, while staying true to you.

Take it away Judy!

 screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-3-29-38-pm“A great manager appreciates the difference between extroversion and introversion and finds ways to adapt and leverage these differences. To do this, they first need to understand the extroversion and introversion preferences.

Extroversion and introversion is about the direction in which we focus our attention and energy. Extroverts focus their energy and attention outwards; they are attracted to the outer world of people and events. Extroverts are more likely to: Speak-think-speak, speak out easily and often at meetings, favor an energetic atmosphere, find too little interaction stressful, and desire an action-oriented leader.

Introverts, on the other hand, focus their energy and attention inward; they are attracted to the inner world of thoughts and reflections. Introverts are more likely to: think-speak-think, be quiet in meetings and seem uninvolved, favor a calm atmosphere, find too much interaction stressful, and desire a contemplative leader.

As an extroverted manager, here are some things you can do if you have an introverted team.

Manage your Extroversion

  • In conversation or in a team meeting, pay attention to how much you are talking. Ask yourself, A.I.T. – Why am I talking? If the answer is I am doing most of the talking, stop and let the other person speak.
  • Moderate your approach at times, in order not to overwhelm introverts. Practice silence i.e. Stop, Look, Listen first.

Allow Introverts Time and Space to Think and Speak

  • Extroverts (including Introverts conditioned in an extroverted world) need to develop sensitivity to the impact of their behaviour on introverts, particularly with respect to leaving “silences” to encourage introverts to take their share of the air in discussions.
  • Allow introverts the space that they need to produce their best work, which will be on their own or with a couple of their team members, in a quiet space.

 When Working as a Team

  • Send out team meeting information ahead of time to allow introverts time to think about the topic, agenda items, etc.
  • Use Meeting Guidelines / Ground Rules, established by the team, to manage team dynamics.
  • Create opportunities for small group interaction.
  • Ensure that airtime is shared amongst the team. For example, “I noticed that we have heard from many of the same people and want to open the discussion to others who haven’t had a chance to share their thoughts.”
  • Devise methods for including everyone in a discussion, e.g. silent brainstorming, round robin allowing individuals to pass, surveying the team before the meeting, sharing the group’s input and then discussing it, etc.
  • Before proceeding with a decision or action, allow time for team members to think about it before proceeding.
  • Coach your introverted team members to let their peers (and you!) know when they are thinking and/or need time to think.

 Finally, it is important to treat each team member as an individual, recognizing that individuals show up differently on the extroversion-introversion scale. Observe and learn more about each team member so that you can leverage their strengths and adapt your management style accordingly.”

 Thank you, Judy!

Let us know how these tips work for you! And, if you’re an introverted Manager be sure to stop by next week for some tips for you!

The Art of Influencing: Your Boss

The Art of Influencing: Your Boss

You know that you’ve got the next big idea for what could really help your team.

You’ve played this scenario over and over in your mind and are only more convinced that this idea is the way to go.

Now the hard part – getting buy-in from your boss.

Learning how to influence your boss is an art!

As you are preparing, check out this article from The Muse.

Below are two of Jo’s suggestions that we really resonated with!

“1. Understand your leaders and their goals”

Really take the time to think about your boss.

We recommend to ask yourself: What have I seen my boss value or what are those key phrases or points I always hear them coming back to?

“2. Communicate in a style that they find persuasive”

Try out a couple of different communication techniques to learn what your boss REALLY hears. Maybe try:

  • Assertively asking for what you want using “I would like ___ so that ____”
  • Ask lots of questions
  • Prep your Boss with material before and then discuss

Leverage what you learn to communicate in the best way for them!

We’d also recommend to leverage your meetings strategically.

If you already have regular meetings with your boss, think about how you can use those as an opportunity to influence, where you come prepared and ready with ideas!

Interns: Setting Up For Future Success

Interns: Setting Up For Future Success

So, you’ve got an intern.

You and I know that most interns are hoping that all their hard work isn’t just for nothing. Interns are hoping that when they work their butt off this summer that it provides a job opportunity (or connection) in the future.

But – you may or may not have the opportunity to bring on a new staff member next spring.

Realistically, it’s too far in advance to tell, and you don’t know if your current intern would fit the role you need to fill.

But, your intern has been curious, hard- working, and you see some real potential!

Jodi Gilckman, from Harvard Business Review, has 4 tips on How to Help your Intern get a Full Time Job.

Here are some thoughts:

  • Are there introductions you can make for your Intern?
  • Could you write a great recommendation?
  • Would you have time to talk with them once a month as a mentor, over the next 9 months?
  • Be transparent – talk about what you may be able to provide and communicate what next steps would be!

And, be sure to share with us on your best practices with interns.