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Strengths-Based Leadership

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Strengths-Based Leadership

Nearly a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a 30-year research project on leadership strengths. More than 3 million people have since taken the firm’s StrengthsFinder assessment.

In Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow, New York Times-bestselling author Tom Rath and leadership consultant Barry Conchie reveal three keys to effective leadership:

1.     Know your strengths—and invest in others’ strengths.

2.     Hire people with the right strengths for your team.

3.     Understand and meet your followers’ basic needs.

3 Keys to Effective Leadership

1. The most effective leaders continuously invest in strengths.

When leaders fail to focus on individuals’ strengths, the odds of employee engagement drop to a dismal 9%. But when leaders focus on employees’ strengths, the odds soar to 73%.

Emphasizing what people do right boosts their overall engagement and productivity. They learn their roles faster and more quickly adapt to variances.

2. The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and maximize their team.

Strong teams have a balance of strengths in four specific leadership domains:

·      Execution: Great leaders know how to make things happen.

·      Influence: Leadership their teams reach a broader audience by selling ideas inside and outside the organization.

·      Relationship-Building: Leaders create an environment in which groups perform harmoniously for optimal results.

·      Strategic Thinking: Leaders keep everyone focused on the possibilities for a better future.

3. The most effective leaders understand their followers’ needs.

Gallup’s study of 10,000 followers reveals four basic needs:

·      Trust: Respect, integrity and honesty

·      Compassion: Caring, friendship, happiness and love

·      Stability: Security, strength, support and peace

·      Hope: Direction, faith and guidance

Measuring Strengths

Gallup’s new online StrengthsFinder assessment helps you identify which of 34 theme-based strengths you have and they fit into the four domains of leadership strength: execution, influence, relationship-building and strategic thinking.

You can also take advantage of similar free online tools.

Defining Strengths

A strength is your ability to consistently produce positive outcomes through near-perfect performance in a specific task. It is composed of:

   Skillsyour ability to perform a task’s fundamental steps. Skills do not naturally exist within us; they must be acquired through formal or informal training and practice.

   Knowledgewhat you know, such as your awareness of historical dates and your grasp of the rules of a game. Knowledge must be acquired through formal or informal education.

      Talentshow you naturally think, feel and behave (i.e., the inner drive to compete, sensitivity to others’ needs, being outgoing at social gatherings). Talents are innate and unique to each of us.

Finding Your Strengths

We display our strengths each day, and we don’t necessarily require a formal assessment to discover where we excel.

   Our yearnings can reveal the presence of a talent, particularly when we recognize them early in life.

   Rapid learning also signals talent. Your brain may light up when you undertake a new challenge.

   If you feel great satisfaction (psychological fulfillment) when meeting new challenges, you’ve likely identified a talent.

   If you’re so engrossed in an activity that you lose track of time (timelessness), you’re engaged at a deep, natural level.

   Glimpses of excellence are flashes of outstanding performance observed by you or others.

34 Personal Strengths

The Gallup Organization identified 34 distinct personal strengths after interviewing 1.7 million professionals over 40 years:

Gallup’s 34 Strengths
StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup Press, 2007)

 

1.

Achiever

Constantly driven to accomplish tasks

2.

Activator

Sets things in motion

3.

Adaptability

Adept at accommodating changes in direction/plan

4.

Analytical

Requires data/proof to make sense of circumstances

5.

Arranger

Enjoys orchestrating many tasks/variables

6.

Belief

Strives to find ultimate meaning in everything he/she does

7.

Command

Embraces leadership positions without fearing confrontation

8.

Communication

Uses words to inspire action and education

9.

Competition

Thrives on comparison and competition

10.

Connectedness

Seeks to unite others through commonalities

11.

Consistency

Treats everyone the same to avoid unfair advantage

12.

Context

Reviews the past to make better decisions

13.

Deliberative

Proceeds with caution and a planned approach

14.

Developer

Sees others’ untapped potential

15.

Discipline

Makes sense of the world by imposing order

16.

Empathy

In tune with others’ emotions

17.

Focus

Has a clear sense of direction

18.

Futuristic

Eyes the future to drive today’s success

19.

Harmony

Seeks to avoid conflict and achieve consensus

20.

Ideation

Sees underlying concepts that unite disparate ideas

21.

Includer

Instinctively works to include everyone

22.

Individualization

Draws upon individuals’ uniqueness to create successful teams

23.

Input

Constantly collects information/objects for future use

24.

Intellection

Enjoys thinking and thought-provoking conversation; can compress complex concepts into simplified models

25.

Learner

Constantly challenged; learns new skills/information to feel successful

26.

Maximizer

Takes people and projects from great to excellent

27.

Positivity

Injects levity into any situation

28.

Relator

Most comfortable with fewer, deeper relationships

29.

Responsibility

Always follows through on commitments

30.

Restorative

Thrives on solving difficult problems

31.

Self-Assurance

Stays true to beliefs; self-confident

32.

Significance

Others to see him/her as significant

33.

Strategic

Can see a clear direction in complex situations

34.

Woo

Can easily persuade

Each of these strengths contributes to the four leadership domains:

Gallup Leadership Strengths
Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow,
by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (Gallup Press, 2013)

 

EXECUTING

 

ACHIEVER

CONSISTENCY

FOCUS

ARRANGER

DELIBERATIVE

RESPONSIBILITY

BELIEF

DISCIPLINE

RESTORATIVE

 

INFLUENCING

 

ACTIVATOR

COMPETITION

SIGNIFICANCE

COMMAND

MAXIMIZER

WOO

COMMUNICATION

SELF-ASSURANCE

 

 

 

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

 

 

ADAPTABILITY

EMPATHY

INDIVIDUALIZATION

DEVELOPER

HARMONY

POSITIVITY

CONNECTEDNESS

INCLUDER

RELATOR

 

 

STRATEGIC THINKING

 

 

ANALYTICAL

IDEATION

LEARNER

CONTEXT

INPUT

STRATEGIC

FUTURISTIC

INTELLECTION

 

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com

Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
 
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Emotional Intelligence-Based Executive Coaching for Developing Empathy

Category: 

Managing with Emotional Intelligence:

The Power of Empathy

The business community has embraced the concept of emotional intelligence and its importance ever since Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book, Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998). The challenge is to demonstrate that such competencies significantly impact employee performance.

Studies in corporations that have adopted emotional intelligence training have shown that “EI” can be trained and it is effective. There are overall improvements in productivity and profits.  Furthermore, up to 90% of the difference between outstanding and average leaders is linked to emotional intelligence. “EI” is two times as important as IQ and technical expertise combined, and is four times as important in terms of overall success.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your own feelings and those of others, and the ability to motivate yourself and others, as well as to manage your own emotions and those of others. Essentially, there are four competencies:

1.    Understanding yourself, or self-awareness

2.    Managing yourself, or self-management

3.    Understanding others, or social awareness

4.    Managing others, or social skills

Perhaps it would be better to simplify the concept. Emotional intelligence increases when people commit themselves to building practical competencies in the context of every day situations. Nothing can be more powerful than developing empathy skills during everyday conversations on the job.

One of the foundation skills that contribute to a manager’s or leader’s success is the skill of empathy. It starts with self-awareness, in that understanding your own emotions is essential to understanding the feelings of others. It is crucial to effective communication and to leading others.

Lack of empathy is a primary cause of interpersonal difficulties that lead to poor performance, executive derailment, and problems with customer relationships.

Empathy as a competency skill is poorly understood by those who need it most, and it is even more difficult to train and acquire. Most people believe you either have it or you don’t. Many hard-driving managers lack a propensity for developing empathy because they assume it’s for the more “touchy-feely” types. Some very intelligent leaders are walking around blindly using only their powers of reasoning and wondering why everyone doesn’t see things their way.

Research by the Center for Creative Leadership has found that the primary causes of derailment in executives involve deficits in emotional competency, and in particular, these three primary ones:                                                                                                                                       

1. Difficulty in handling change.

2. Not being able to work well as a team.

3. Poor interpersonal relations.

Without an adequate capacity to understand the other’s point of view, some managers lack sufficient flexibility for change, cannot work well with team collaboration, and cannot relate well with the very people that affect the results they are trying to achieve.

What Is Empathy?

Empathy can be defined as the ability to see things from the other person’s point of view— to be able to “walk in someone else’s moccasins.” Goleman defines it as the ability to read other people. Other definitions include the concept of identifying with the other person or their situation. This implies more than a cognitive understanding, more than just remembering a similar situation that you may have gone through yourself. Empathy means that you can recall some of those same feelings based on your own memories. There is a sharing and identifying with emotional states.

What does this have to do with running a business, managing a company and dealing with bottom-line performance issues? Obviously, if managers were to take the time to listen with empathy at everything that was said, nothing would get done. Furthermore, one cannot fall prey to being swept up into every person’s story. Managers and leaders must keep the focus and guide people to goal completion.

According to Goleman, empathy represents the foundation skill for all the social competencies important for work:

  1. Understanding others: sensing others’ feelings and perspectives, and taking an active interest in their concerns
  2. Service orientation: anticipating, recognizing and meeting customers’ needs
  3. Developing others: sensing others’ development needs and bolstering their abilities
  4. Leveraging diversity: cultivating opportunities through diverse people
  5. Political awareness: reading the political and social currents in an organization

Managers and leaders are usually high in those traits and characteristics that lead to successful goal completion, such as high achievement orientation and high focusing abilities. That’s why they get promoted to management positions. Success depends a great deal on having focus, being able to persevere, and being able to concentrate. But focus alone can result in undesirable consequences if not counterbalanced by empathy. Focus alone will not result in the fulfillment of goals. Focus and empathy will.

Empathy skills are those that involve paying attention to other people - for example, listening, attending to the needs and wants of others, and building relationships. When empathy skills are high, one is more likely to inspire the troops. When a manager understands his/her people and communicates that to them, he/she is more liked and respected. That is how practicing empathy results in better performance. When a manager is respected, the people they lead are more likely to go the extra mile. Empathy and focus need to be balanced, and when they are, managing skills are optimally effective.

Both managers and employees need empathy in order to interact well with customers, suppliers, the general public, and with each other. Managers need it even more when they are assigning a task to someone who won’t like it; when offering criticism to someone who predictably will get defensive; when having to deal with someone who isn’t liked; when dealing with employee disputes; and when giving bad news such as telling someone that they won’t be promoted or that they’re being laid off. The first step in dealing with any negativity is to empathize. The next step is to focus back to the goals and the tasks at hand.

At the outset empathy involves real curiosity and a desire to know or understand. There is a genuine interest in what the person is saying and feeling. You cannot have empathy without asking questions. Some typical ones are:

1.    “Can you say more about that?”

2.    “Really? That’s interesting. Can you be more specific?”

3.    “I wasn’t aware of that. Tell me more.”

4.    “I’m curious about that…let’s discuss this in more depth.”

5.    “Let me see if I understand you correctly…here is what I hear you say…”

Managers and leaders who are high in empathy skills are able to pick up emotional cues. They can appreciate not only what a person is saying, but also why they are saying it. At the highest levels, they also understand where a person’s feelings might come from.

Those that do not have empathy have a tendency to misread the other person. They do not ask questions to clarify. They do not pay attention to non-verbal cues. Those people who are analytical by nature will listen to the words, facts and figures and completely miss the real message of what is being said.

If we remember that only 7% of the message is carried in the words and the rest is in the non-verbal cues, then listening to the content of what is being said may actually be misleading.

Learning the Skill of Empathy

How then to learn effective empathy if you are one of those task-oriented managers who is primarily focused on achievement? The good news is that your achievement orientation and focusing abilities will help you in acquiring empathy skills. The bad news is that it may not be natural at first. Fortunately, empathy is a learned capability and like other competencies, it can be acquired.

Here are some steps to take to begin improving empathy as an effective management tool. Like all the emotional competencies, it is better to practice with an experienced coach who can monitor and give effective feedback. Reading a book and taking a class can both help to gain a greater cognitive understanding of what is involved. However, empathy skills must be learned experientially, that is, practiced in the field in real-time.

Ten Ways to Develop Empathy

1.    Keep a note of situations in which you felt you were able to demonstrate empathy and a note when you felt you did not. Make a note of missed opportunities to respond with empathy.

2.    Become aware of incidents where there may be some underlying concerns that are not explicitly expressed by others.

3.    Make a note of possible emotions or feelings that the other person may be experiencing. Keep an open mind and never assume, merely explore the possibilities.

4.    Develop a list of questions to ask at your next encounter with that person. Try to make the questions open-ended, that is, questions that can’t be answered by yes or no.

5.    Practice listening without interrupting. Wait until the other person is complete with their point of view before offering yours.

6.    Avoid being defensive in order to create an open dialogue where possibilities can be explored freely.

7.    Allow creative time for people to express opinions and ideas without judgment.

8.    Practice active listening: always check out the meaning of what was said with the person speaking. Paraphrasing what was said helps to clear up misconceptions and to deepen understanding.

9.    Always bring focus back into the conversation. Remember that optimal effectiveness is achieved by a combination of focus and empathy.

10. Work on achieving an effective balance of focus, goal orientation and empathic listening.

The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence

The following examples of research offer a bottom-line rationale for emotional competency training in hiring, selecting, and retaining personnel, developing performance measurements, and in managing customer relationships.

After supervisors in a manufacturing plant received training in emotional competencies such as how to listen better and help employees resolve problems on their own, lost-time accidents were reduced by 50 percent, formal grievances were reduced from an average of 15 per year to 3 per year, and the plant exceeded productivity goals by $250,000 (Pesuric & Byham, 1996).

In another manufacturing plant where supervisors received similar training, production increased 17 percent. There was no such increase in production for a group of matched supervisors who were not trained (Porras & Anderson, 1981).

The US Air Force used the EQ-I (Emotional Quotient Inventory, Multi-Health Systems, Toronto) to select recruiters and found that the most successful recruiters scored significantly higher in the emotional competencies of assertiveness, empathy, happiness and emotional self-awareness. They found that by using EI to select recruiters, they increased their ability to predict successful recruiters by nearly three-fold. The immediate gain was a saving of $3 million annually.

An analysis of more than 300 top level executives from fifteen global companies showed that six emotional competencies distinguished star performers from average: influence, team leadership, organizational awareness, self-confidence, achievement drive, and leadership (Spencer, 1997).

Financial advisors at American Express whose managers completed the Emotional Competence training program were compared to managers who had not. During the year following training, the trained managers grew their businesses by 18.1% compared to 16.2% of those whose managers were untrained.

In a large beverage firm, using standard methods to hire division presidents, 50% left within two years, mostly because of poor performance. When they started selecting based on emotional competencies such as initiative, self-confidence, and leadership, only 6% left in two years. The executives selected based on EI were far more likely to perform in the top third: 87% were in the top third. Division leaders with these competencies outperformed their targets by 15 to 20 percent. Those who lacked emotional competencies under-performed those that did by almost 20% (McClelland, 1999).

The Business Case for Empathy

The more an organization can understand and empathize with the key motivators of their employees and customers, the more likely that organization will have sustainable success. ~ Chip Conley, author of Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow

In an uncertain economy, empathy may seem like a soft business skill. It can, however, serve as a catalyst for new growth, innovation and employee engagement, all of which drive profits and long-term results.

The more an organization demonstrates care for its customers and employees, the greater the potential for uninterrupted growth, higher profits, improved products and happier employees. Empathy may, in fact, be the most underappreciated and overlooked strategic business tactic.

Empathy is a powerful social force. Physiologically, each of us is hard-wired to care. Specific brain cells known as “mirror neurons” enable us to experience other people’s emotions. This capacity contributes to our levels of intuition, thoughtfulness and insight.

As we cope with the daily challenges of an increasingly fast-paced world, we need to reclaim our basic empathy abilities, which often get lost in the shuffle of stultifying business routines. Organizations can learn to become empathic to forge connections with customers and employees.

“Companies prosper when they tap into a power that every one of us already has—the ability to reach outside of ourselves and connect with other people,” writes Stanford University Adjunct Professor Dev Patnaik in Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy.

Real People in the Information Age

Most organizations over-rely on data, to the exclusion of face-to-face customer contact. It’s important to remember that we are intrinsically social animals, with an innate ability to sense what others are thinking and feeling.

We rely on our intuition to help us make decisions. But in large groups, contact is lost—as is our instinct for determining what’s going on outside the group. Corporations can become far too insular.

If you stay in touch with colleagues and customers, you’ll have a better sense of what’s going on in the world. You’ll also surpass competitors at spotting new opportunities.

Large institutions often choose to rely on data and market research for information on customer experiences, abandoning face-to-face interactions that preserve relationships. These businesses invariably become far removed from their customers’ day-to-day lives.

Harley-Davidson is one notable exception, its office a shrine to the motorcycle culture the company helped create. Offices display photos, memorabilia and banners from rallies. Customers and employees ride together. Engineers, accountants and administrative staff acquire an intuitive understanding of the customers who buy their products.

Harley-Davidson’s leaders mandate that company executives spend measurable time on the streets with motorcycle riders. While many employees don’t ride, the company nonetheless instills its lifestyle and values. Empathy is a key element of this corporate strategy.

In Your Customers’ Shoes

Modern technological improvements in data-mining provide strategic plans, sales forecasts and manufacturing reports. Companies become so dependent on these models that they can lose touch with reality.

Firms use all of this information to create maps—market segmentations, research reports—of how customers use their products. But these maps are poor substitutes for actual human contact. Many managers make critical decisions based on numbers, without any personal feeling for the people they serve. They fail to spot new opportunities and innovative solutions for customers.

Nike has built an entire culture that celebrates the potential for athletic greatness in each of us. The company’s headquarters resemble an athletic center; its employees take breaks for running, basketball and soccer games. The people who develop running shoes are usually runners themselves. They possess a basic intuition that cannot be captured in any market report.

Other major companies have learned the value of empathy:

·       IBM helps customers keep their information technology up and running by staying as close to them as possible.

·       Microsoft succeeded with the Xbox because it was designed for gamers by developers who love games.

·       Apple makes computers, iPhones, iPads and iPods for people who covet cool, easy-to-use products. The company’s organizational culture reflects its customers’ lifestyles.

Business happens on the street, in stores and in homes. When companies have a real connection with end users, they come up with better product designs. Harnessing the power of empathy closes the gap between abstract data and reality.

Consumers don’t buy goods based on demographics. Nobody, for example, opens his wallet because he’s a 25- to 30-year-old white male with a college degree. As people go about their daily lives, problems arise that beg for solutions. Consumers are willing to spend money on solutions that will get the job done. Your ability to empathize with them and anticipate their needs determines whether your product or service will sink or swim in the marketplace.

It’s worth noting that Sony cofounder Akio Morita and Apple’s Steve Jobs were famous for never commissioning market research. Instead, they’d just walk around the world watching what people did. They put themselves in their future customers’ shoes.

When a Company Lacks Empathy

Some business executives dismiss the need for empathy, favoring the more concrete and defensible virtues of rational analysis. They have a point. So did Blockbuster executives when faced with Netflix’s debut.

Blockbuster witnessed Netflix’s dramatic growth in the very early 2000s and chose to do nothing. Company leaders saw the world from a solitary vantage point: atop a $6 billion business with 60% margins, tens of thousands of employees and a thriving nationwide retail chain.

Blockbuster’s management team certainly didn’t view the world from its customers’ perspective: late fees that drove renters up the wall, a limited range of movies that eschewed anything that wasn’t a new release.

Netflix’s ultimate market domination is a cautionary tale for other complacent companies. The Blockbusters of the world go belly up because they sell what they want to sell—not what their customers want to buy.

Empathy helps companies stay grounded. Face-to-face encounters with the people you serve provide context for market research and other data.

The Way Things Used to Be

Overly simplified, abstract information often carries authority inside organizations. Knowing and understanding your customers is the antidote.

“The problem with business today isn’t a lack of innovation; it’s a lack of empathy,” writes Professor Patnaik.

Empathy is the ability to step outside yourself and see the world as other people do. For some companies, it’s also a rarely discussed engine for growth.

Harley Davidson gets it right once again. The company hires fans and publicizes its connection with consumers. Leaders work hard to stay in touch with consumers’ changing needs.

This is the way business used to be conducted two centuries ago. For thousands of years, craftsmen made things for people they knew. Tailors, cobblers and other tradesmen understood what their customers wanted.

This approach ended with the Industrial Revolution. As more goods were mass-produced in factories, suppliers and consumers experienced a growing rift—one that we’ve been struggling to repair ever since. It’s much harder to succeed when you create products for people you don’t know—individuals whose lives seem alien to yours or who are halfway around the world.

Connecting through Social Media

Information technology is reshaping the company/consumer relationship, often bringing benefits to both. The misuse of technology, however, can erode customer care.

Despite living in an age where technology has made always-on data connections ubiquitous, we are more disconnected from the people we impact than at any other time in history. Even with the proliferation of social-media sites, we continue to miss opportunities for genuine dialogue.

Fortunately, many companies are changing this. They know their customers crave the ability to provide immediate input on specific products and services. Consumers prefer to buy products from businesses that know and care about customers’ needs. Managers and front-line employees must listen empathically to what consumers have to say. When managed properly, social-media sites allow open communication.

A 2011 study conducted by Parasole Restaurant Holdings and newBrandAnalytics found what consumers say online increases staff ownership of the employee/customer relationship.

Indeed, technology can actually enrich relationships between customers and employees. But it requires commitment from senior managers, who must:

1. Affirm their commitment to active, empathic involvement with customers

2. Understand the ways in which current procedures and systems mediate interactions with customers

3. Promote the deployment of social networks and other technologies to help customers tell their stories

4. Encourage and enable workers and managers to hear them

Only when employees can step into their customers’ shoes can companies add authenticity to the claim, “We care for you.”

Inside the Empathic Organization

Professor Patnaik has created the term “Open Empathy Organizations” for those that encourage employees to focus on empathy as part of the company mission. Success requires employees at all levels to be genuinely interested in other people, and there must be multiple ways for them to interact.

Open Empathy Organizations also provide ways for employees to buy and use the company’s products and services. Netflix gives DVD players and free subscriptions to employees, who can learn firsthand how customers experience the company.

Similarly, gardening giant Smith & Hawken boasts a large garden at its company headquarters. Leaders encourage employees to plant and tend to crops, while familiarizing themselves with the company’s products. At such empathic companies, employees begin to understand how their work plays a positive role in their customers’ lives. Staffers become more attached to the results they see at work.

Employees perform at optimum levels when they know they make a difference. When they are encouraged to demonstrate care for customers, they become more engaged and energized.

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Mindful Leadership: Two Minds, Fast and Slow

Category: 

 

We coach leaders to cultivate clarity, creativity, focus, purpose and trust in a full engagement culture.

Two Minds, Fast and Slow


The brain has two systems for thinking, explains Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman in
 
Thinking, Fast and Slow:

   System 1 for fast thinking

    System 2 for slower thinking

System 1, the fast, or automatic, mind reaches judgments and conclusions quickly, but often prematurely. Intuitive and aware, it makes associations with already-stored and easily accessible information. It is eager to achieve order and understanding, and therefore subject to making errors.

System 2, also known as the reflective mind, is slower and more methodical. It is capable of rational thought and even metathought: the ability to consciously observe one’s thinking processes from a distance. It challenges assumptions and generates alternatives, objectively evaluating and analyzing them.

System 2 helps us take conscious and intentional actions—but it’s also slow and requires lots of energy. It therefore often cedes control to the automatic mind, which conserves energy resources.

Great leaders learn to train Systems 1 and 2 to work synergistically. They nurture their reflective mind to be more proactive and sagacious, while training their automatic mind to increase its associative powers. They are ultimately rewarded with more creative ideas for the reflective mind to consider.

You can become a more mindful leader by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put authentic leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more mindful? Mindful leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a mindful leader who helps individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help develop authentic leaders .

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion, by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

Categories: 

The Future of Work: 5 Skills for the Robotic Age

Category: 

 


We coach leaders to cultivate purpose, creativity, focus and trust in a full engagement culture.
                       

The Future of Work:

The challenges of 21st-century work—rapid innovation, unrelenting change and unprecedented uncertainty—have created a stress pandemic.

Depending on your disposition, you may view the future as ripe for a spectacular explosion of creativity or poised on the brink of self-destruction. Either way, there’s no going back.

The tools and skills we’ve developed over the last century inadequately address imminent challenges. We’re caught between two paradigms: a collapsing industrial platform and an uncertain new one.

“Information Age” insufficiently captures the spirit of where we’re headed. We will be forced to interpret unprecedented information streams and navigate vast knowledge networks to solve new problems.

Too Much Information

The world’s ability to store, communicate and compute information has grown at least 23% annually since 1986. Digital information increases tenfold every 5 years.

Amazon seeks to make every book ever printed available in any language in less than 60 seconds. Google’s mission is to organize all of the world’s information and make it universally accessible.

But we’re not yet ready to deal with these interconnected, nonlinear and amorphous challenges. Our skills remain too basic. We must break free of static, linear thinking and move toward dynamic, holistic information processing.

Man vs. Machine

Our educational system has taught us to copy, memorize, obey and keep score—skills we now ask machines to handle. Computers have taken over many of our jobs.

In February 2011, the IBM computer “Watson“ trounced two Jeopardy! champions over a 3-day competition. Watson’s cognitive-reasoning skills were far superior, with access to 200 million pages of structured and unstructured content (4 terabytes of disk storage, including the full text of Wikipedia).

Even before Alex Trebek finished reading a clue, Watson’s 2,880 parallel processor cores began to divvy up the workload. At 33 billion operations per second, they could search 500 gigabytes of data (roughly 1 million books) in the blink of an eye. Watson could also hit the buzzer in less than 8 milliseconds.

During the 3 seconds Watson took to deliver a correct response, various algorithms worked across multiple processors to return hundreds of hypothetical answers. Watson was programmed to hit the buzzer only after reaching a 50% confidence level. By the end of the game, Watson had surpassed previous champions’ winnings by almost 200%, easily becoming the first nonhuman Jeopardy! champion.

In February 2013, IBM announced that Watson’s first commercial software application would be used for utilization management decisions at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Ninety percent of nurses who use Watson now follow its guidance.

This is an example of how robots, machines and computers will ultimately take our jobs. We must harness our creative energy in new ways to stay ahead of the “robot curve.”

Creative Destruction

In 1942, economist Joseph Schumpeter coined the term creative destruction to describe the continual process of economic and technological innovation. Modern-day examples include:

·   Telephone replaces telegraph

·   Automobile replaces horse-drawn carriage

·   Digital camera replaces film

·   Smartphone replaces cell phone

The need for efficient transportation and communication will persist while their delivery systems will always change.

“Help! A Robot Ate My Job!”

If you haven’t yet heard this complaint, you will. Today’s widespread unemployment is not a jobs crisis; it’s a talent crisis. Technology is taking every job that doesn’t require a high degree of creativity, humanity or leadership.

In times of rapid change, success favors those who can make big leaps of imagination, courage and effort. Innovation and creative destruction are rampant in the first two decades of the 21st century. The call for new ways to work will become even more pressing.

10 Areas Ripe for Innovation

We tend to think of new technology as the space where game-changing innovations occur, but fertile new ideas may reside elsewhere. The Doblin Group, a Chicago think tank, has identified 10 areas where innovation can deliver competitive advantages:

1.     The business model: how a company makes money

2.     Networking: including organizational structure, value chain, partnerships

3.     Enabling processes: the capabilities a company buys from others

4.     Core processes: proprietary methods that add value

5.     Product performance: including features and functionality

6.     Product systems: extended systems that support the product

7.     Service: how a company treats customers

8.     Channels: how companies connect offerings to customers

9.     Branding: how a company builds its reputation

10.  Customer experience: including the touchpoints where customers encounter the brand

Think of problems as opportunities to find worthy and inspiring solutions. In Metaskills: 5 Talents for the Robotic Age, business adviser Marty Neumeier encourages leaders to use the following questions as inspiration points:

·      What’s the “either/or” that’s obscuring innovation opportunities?

·      In which areas do the usual methods no longer achieve predicted results?

·      What’s the “can’t-do” that you can turn into a “can-do”?

·      Which problems are so big that they can no longer be seen?

·      Which categories or sectors exhibit the most uneven rates of change?

·      In which area is there a great deal of interest, but very few solutions?

·      Where can you find too little or too much order?

·      Which of your talents can be upscaled in some surprising way?

·      Where can your passion take you?

5 Skills for the Robotic Age

We need to stay on top of the robot curve—the constant waterfall of obsolescence and opportunity fed by competition and innovation.

Neumeier presents five metaskills that—so far—robots cannot handle:

1.     Feeling encompasses intuition, empathy and social intelligence. Humans draw on emotion for intuition, aesthetics and empathy—skills that are becoming more vital as we enter the robotic age.

2.     Seeing is the ability to think whole thoughts (also known as “system thinking”). We understand parts of a system when we appreciate their relationship to each other, rather than in isolation. Before tinkering with a system, we need to ask:

a.    What will happen if I do nothing?

b.    What may be improved?

c.     What may be diminished?

d.    What will be replaced?

e.    Will it expand future options?

f.      What are the ethical considerations?

g.     Will it simplify or complicate the system?

h.    Are my basic assumptions correct?

i.      What has to be true to make this possible?

j.      Are events likely to unfold this way?

k.     If so, will the system really react this way?

l.      What are the factors behind the events?

m.   What are the long-term costs and benefits?

3.     Dreaming requires you to apply your imagination—one of the brain’s more mysterious capabilities. Innovators transform their dreams into practical solutions. You dream by disassociating your thoughts from all that is linear and the logical. Like most things, dreaming improves with practice. Unfortunately, it’s never taught in business schools—a gross omission that discourages innovation.

4.     Making involves mastering the design process, including skills for devising prototypes. Creativity is nothing without craft. The act of making something turns imagination into brilliant products, services and successful businesses. Think of it this way:

a.    In design, sketching is the mother of invention.

b.    In science, it’s the experiment.

c.     In business, it’s the whiteboard diagram.

d.    In writing, it’s the rough draft.

e.    In acting, it’s the run-through.

f.      In inventing, it’s the prototype.

g.     In jazz, it’s jamming.

You must constantly push yourself beyond your limits and pay attention to the tasks that trip you up. In design circles, this is known as fast failing. Successive drawings and models are designed to illuminate the problem and, in the process, spark intuition among collaborators. It will be interesting to see how 3D printing will be used to enhance the design process. Unfortunately, too many organizations value process and standardization at the risk of suppressing surprising results.

5.   Learning is an ongoing process. We must continually master skills to adapt. We then apply our newfound knowledge in innovative ways. Learning is enhanced through good moods, action and emotional experiences. We become masterful through deliberate practice.

These five metaskills can keep you two or three steps ahead of the machines, algorithms and outsourcing forces of the robot curve. They’ll also bring you greater creativity, a higher purpose and a deeper sense of fulfillment.

So far, the human brain has many advantages over machines, but the gap is closing. You’ll need to routinely upgrade your skills to remain essential.

Will You Be “Future Smart”?

Game-changing trends will continue to affect business, technology, the workforce, the economy, security and the environment. We’re well aware of many of them: climate change, energy demand and population growth.  We can only guess at others.

Thriving in this future requires you to become predictive, adaptive and agile—what global futurist James Canton, PhD, calls Future Smart. Exponential new technologies will emerge in digital money, mobile commerce and big data. An explosive new middle class of more than 1 billion consumers will enter the marketplace. We can look forward to:

·      Regenerative medicine that extends our life span and rebuilds our bodies

·      Robots and drones that drive our cars, teach our kids and fight our wars

·      Smart machines that design, manage and service 40% of all global businesses—energy, commerce, finance and manufacturing—without humans

·      Always-connected digital consumers who challenge every business to change its strategy

·      Climate-change wars that redefine security and resources

Most of us are ill prepared to meet these challenges, which are coming faster than we think. Armed with knowledge, those who are future smart can take action to reinvent themselves, their businesses and their world.

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience  elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise? ” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Connect with me on these Social Media sites. 

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Mindful Leadership: Overcoming Leadership Blind Spots

Category: 

 

We coach leaders to cultivate, creativity, clarity, focus and trust in a full engagement culture.
 

“Leadership is a struggle by flawed human beings to make some important human values real and effective in the world as it is.” ~ Steven Snyder, Leadership and the Art of Struggle

There’s no escaping it: Everyone has blind spots. No matter how hard we try to be self-aware, everyone—including the best leader—has unproductive behaviors that are invisible to us but glaring to everyone else.

Our behavioral blind spots create unintended consequences: They distort judgment, corrupt decision-making, reduce our awareness, create enemies and silos, destroy careers and sabotage business results.

Leaders are particularly vulnerable. They often buy into the overpowering belief that they should have all the answers and easily handle challenges great and small. They exploit their powers of self-confidence at the expense of introspection and self-questioning. For many, the need to be right trumps their mandate to be effective.

These leaders fail to see that their behaviors can be destructive to themselves and others, even when their intentions are positive. They forget that others judge them on their behaviors and results—not by intentions.

Research Revelations

A blind spot is a performance-hindering mindset or behavior of which you’re unaware or have chosen to overlook. A recent Business Week article cites some important research:

       A Hay Group study shows that an organization’s senior leaders are more likely to overrate themselves and develop blind spots that can hinder their effectiveness.

       A study by Development Dimensions International, Inc., found that 89 percent of front-line leaders have at least one skills-related blind spot.

The Hay research suggests that, as executives rise within an organization, the less likely they are to see themselves as others perceive them. They often lose touch with those they lead—not surprising, given their increased isolation and the executive suite’s “rarified” atmosphere. As they reach the pinnacle of their profession, they have fewer peers and greater power. Honest feedback and open dialogue often become rare commodities. This poses a serious problem, as researchers have found a direct correlation between high performance and accurate self-awareness.

You can learn to spot leadership blind spots by:

       Establishing 360-degree feedback processes (even in the executive suite)

       Providing executive coaching

       Fostering a culture that values open feedback and dialogue (particularly at the top)

Two Minds: Fast and Slow

“Blind spots are the product of an overactive automatic mind and an underactive reflective mind.” ~ Snyder


The brain has two systems for thinking, explains Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman in Thinking, Fast and Slow:

       System 1 for fast thinking

       System 2 for slower thinking

The fast, or automatic, mind reaches judgments and conclusions quickly, but often prematurely. Intuitive and aware, it makes associations with already-stored and easily accessible information. It is eager to achieve order and understanding, and therefore subject to making errors.

System 2, also known as the reflective mind, is slower and more methodical. It is capable of rational thought and even metathought: the ability to consciously observe one’s thinking processes from a distance. It challenges assumptions and generates alternatives, objectively evaluating and analyzing them.

System 2 helps us take conscious and intentional actions—but it’s also slow and requires lots of energy. It therefore often cedes control to the automatic mind, which conserves energy resources.

Great leaders learn to train Systems 1 and 2 to work synergistically. They nurture their reflective mind to be more proactive and sagacious, while training their automatic mind to increase its associative powers. They are ultimately rewarded with more creative ideas for the reflective mind to consider.

Five Common Blind Spots

An Internet search for “blind spots” produces a virtually endless list of disastrous leadership decisions, based on common cognitive biases that led to faulty thinking.

We can group the most common blind spots into five key categories:

  1. Experience
  2. Personality
  3. Values
  4. Strategy
  5. Conflict

The Experience Blind Spot

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” ~ Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, The Road Ahead

Success boosts confidence—and while it can feel especially good, it leads to errors in thinking.

We rarely examine or analyze what led to a successful outcome, including luck’s role in the process. We automatically assume we were right on the money. Our automatic mind consequently encodes the strategies and tactics we used, along with the confidence we gained.

When we encounter a new situation, we spontaneously draw on our memories of success, without questioning whether prior strategies fit the current circumstances.

Thus, a long history of accolades and achievements can potentially produce troublesome blind spots. There is danger in assuming that past results will guarantee future successes. Intuition takes over, shutting down the need for proper investigation and analysis.

The experience blind spot comes into play when you move into a new role or change jobs. It also surfaces when you’re entrenched in a job and neglect to pay attention to shifting priorities and environmental changes.

The Personality Blind Spot

Personality-based blind spots are epidemic. You cannot avoid them unless you have a high degree of self-awareness, monitor your thoughts and make frequent course corrections.

Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses. But when carried to the extreme or inflamed by stressful situations, even our core strengths can become career-damaging weaknesses.

For example, if you’re naturally optimistic, your thinking is biased toward the positive. This is usually good if you’re charged with inspiring others. But there are times when optimism backfires and leaves you blindsided by negative realities—something you miss until it’s too late.

Similarly, an affable personality usually benefits from strong interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, he may also avoid necessary conflict. For every strength, there’s a related blind spot.

Personality blind spots are often hard to discover because we value our strengths so highly. We often fail to see the downside of what works so well for us. But with increased awareness, you can train yourself to detect emerging blind spots.

Ask yourself:

       Am I playing to the downside of my strengths?

       How will I know when my strengths blind me to my inherent weaknesses?

       Who can be a sounding board as I work toward increasing self-awareness?

Blind spots restrict our options. Soliciting diverse perspectives helps expand our awareness.

The Values Blind Spot

When your attitude and emotions are out of sync with your values, you become uncomfortable and unbalanced—a state psychologists call “cognitive dissonance.” In short, what we say and do is incongruent with what we believe and who we are.

Values blind spots can occur on a personal or group level. They are particularly insidious when you’re somewhat aware of them, but fail to take appropriate corrective action.

In business situations, a values blind spot can affect large groups. Can you think of a time when an implicit incentive to maintain the status quo conflicted with a change initiative? That’s a typical values blind spot in action.

Strategy Blind Spots

Organizations often reward conformity and punish critical or questioning voices.

When a collective worldview becomes self-reinforcing around a set of practices, assumptions or beliefs, there is potential for groupthink. Creativity and agility suffer because conformance is valued above change, and risk is discouraged.

Strategy blind spots can occur in any organizational area. They’re not restricted to values. Unfortunately, they are often spotted in hindsight, after an important opportunity is missed.

Leaders who prize openness and transparency have the best chance of spotting strategy blind spots. They encourage input at all levels, fostering a culture of trust where ideas are honestly debated.

The Conflict Blind Spot

Conflict can be healthy in relationships and organizations where trust has been established. Diverse perspectives challenge tunnel vision and the status quo, while promoting learning and innovation. When issues are constructively debated, new solutions emerge.

But it’s human nature to want to defend and win an argument. Conflict becomes destructive when positive energy turns negative and erodes trust. Empathy and insight are tossed aside when we filter incoming information through the lens of what we believe and want. We categorize others as the enemy, who must be wrong.

Instead of debate, conflict becomes a power struggle that prevents you from seeing any solution (other than winning your point). The automatic mind is in full force, fueled by strong emotions, and the reflective mind is ignored.

You must reactivate your higher intelligence to find your way out of a conflict blind spot. Slow the discussion; perhaps even take a break. Breathe deeply and re-center yourself. When you return to discussions, acknowledge common ground instead of focusing on gaps. What problem do you both want to solve? What goals and values do you share?

Overcoming Blind Spots

“Only in acknowledging our own flaws and vulnerabilities can we become authentic leaders who empower people to perform to the best of their abilities.” ~ Snyder

A blind spot’s effects may not show up right away. Without paying careful attention, you may miss the warning signs. It’s therefore critical for you to proactively work toward discovering them, before you feel the effects.

Consider working with a professional coach who can help you collect data from your boss, colleagues and coworkers. Your coach can administer a personality test and then show you how to evaluate and interpret input.

Also take a look at past or current struggles to determine whether blind spots have hindered your performance. What can you learn from your mistakes? What would you do differently in the future? Reframe situations from others’ perspectives.

When you have a vague awareness of a blind spot, fight against the normal psychological inclination to remain anchored in safe, established patterns. Change occurs only when you engage others in the process.

Above all, don’t blame others for your blind spots or comfortably coast along in unproductive patterns.

You can develop these qualities by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more positive? Positive leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a positive leader who helps individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
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Leading with Emotional Intelligence: The Power of Empathy

Category: 

The Power of Empathy

The business community has embraced the concept of emotional intelligence and its importance ever since Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book, Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998). The challenge is to demonstrate that such competencies significantly impact employee performance.

Studies in corporations that have adopted emotional intelligence training have shown that “EI” can be trained and it is effective. There are overall improvements in productivity and profits.  Furthermore, up to 90% of the difference between outstanding and average leaders is linked to emotional intelligence. “EI” is two times as important as IQ and technical expertise combined, and is four times as important in terms of overall success.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your own feelings and those of others, and the ability to motivate yourself and others, as well as to manage your own emotions and those of others. Essentially, there are four competencies:

1.  Understanding yourself, or self-awareness

2.  Managing yourself, or self-management

3.  Understanding others, or social awareness

4.  Managing others, or social skills

Perhaps it would be better to simplify the concept. Emotional intelligence increases when people commit themselves to building practical competencies in the context of every day situations. Nothing can be more powerful than developing empathy skills during everyday conversations on the job.

One of the foundation skills that contribute to a manager’s or leader’s success is the skill of empathy. It starts with self-awareness, in that understanding your own emotions is essential to understanding the feelings of others. It is crucial to effective communication and to leading others.

Lack of empathy is a primary cause of interpersonal difficulties that lead to poor performance, executive derailment, and problems with customer relationships.

Empathy as a competency skill is poorly understood by those who need it most, and it is even more difficult to train and acquire. Most people believe you either have it or you don’t. Many hard-driving managers lack a propensity for developing empathy because they assume it’s for the more “touchy-feely” types. Some very intelligent leaders are walking around blindly using only their powers of reasoning and wondering why everyone doesn’t see things their way.

Research by the Center for Creative Leadership has found that the primary causes of derailment in executives involve deficits in emotional competency, and in particular, these three primary ones:                                                                                                                                        

1. Difficulty in handling change.

2. Not being able to work well as a team.

3. Poor interpersonal relations.

Without an adequate capacity to understand the other’s point of view, some managers lack sufficient flexibility for change, cannot work well with team collaboration, and cannot relate well with the very people that affect the results they are trying to achieve.

What Is Empathy?

Empathy can be defined as the ability to see things from the other person’s point of view— to be able to “walk in someone else’s moccasins.” Goleman defines it as the ability to read other people. Other definitions include the concept of identifying with the other person or their situation. This implies more than a cognitive understanding, more than just remembering a similar situation that you may have gone through yourself. Empathy means that you can recall some of those same feelings based on your own memories. There is a sharing and identifying with emotional states.

What does this have to do with running a business, managing a company and dealing with bottom-line performance issues? Obviously, if managers were to take the time to listen with empathy at everything that was said, nothing would get done. Furthermore, one cannot fall prey to being swept up into every person’s story. Managers and leaders must keep the focus and guide people to goal completion.

According to Goleman, empathy represents the foundation skill for all the social competencies important for work:

  1. Understanding others: sensing others’ feelings and perspectives, and taking an active interest in their concerns
  2. Service orientation: anticipating, recognizing and meeting customers’ needs
  3. Developing others: sensing others’ development needs and bolstering their abilities
  4. Leveraging diversity: cultivating opportunities through diverse people
  5. Political awareness: reading the political and social currents in an organization

Managers and leaders are usually high in those traits and characteristics that lead to successful goal completion, such as high achievement orientation and high focusing abilities. That’s why they get promoted to management positions. Success depends a great deal on having focus, being able to persevere, and being able to concentrate. But focus alone can result in undesirable consequences if not counterbalanced by empathy. Focus alone will not result in the fulfillment of goals. Focus and empathy will.

Empathy skills are those that involve paying attention to other people - for example, listening, attending to the needs and wants of others, and building relationships. When empathy skills are high, one is more likely to inspire the troops. When a manager understands his/her people and communicates that to them, he/she is more liked and respected. That is how practicing empathy results in better performance. When a manager is respected, the people they lead are more likely to go the extra mile. Empathy and focus need to be balanced, and when they are, managing skills are optimally effective.

Both managers and employees need empathy in order to interact well with customers, suppliers, the general public, and with each other. Managers need it even more when they are assigning a task to someone who won’t like it; when offering criticism to someone who predictably will get defensive; when having to deal with someone who isn’t liked; when dealing with employee disputes; and when giving bad news such as telling someone that they won’t be promoted or that they’re being laid off. The first step in dealing with any negativity is to empathize. The next step is to focus back to the goals and the tasks at hand.

At the outset empathy involves real curiosity and a desire to know or understand. There is a genuine interest in what the person is saying and feeling. You cannot have empathy without asking questions. Some typical ones are:

1.    “Can you say more about that?”

2.    “Really? That’s interesting. Can you be more specific?”

3.    “I wasn’t aware of that. Tell me more.”

4.    “I’m curious about that…let’s discuss this in more depth.”

5.    “Let me see if I understand you correctly…here is what I hear you say…”

Managers and leaders who are high in empathy skills are able to pick up emotional cues. They can appreciate not only what a person is saying, but also why they are saying it. At the highest levels, they also understand where a person’s feelings might come from.

Those that do not have empathy have a tendency to misread the other person. They do not ask questions to clarify. They do not pay attention to non-verbal cues. Those people who are analytical by nature will listen to the words, facts and figures and completely miss the real message of what is being said.

If we remember that only 7% of the message is carried in the words and the rest is in the non-verbal cues, then listening to the content of what is being said may actually be misleading.

Learning the Skill of Empathy

How then to learn effective empathy if you are one of those task-oriented managers who is primarily focused on achievement? The good news is that your achievement orientation and focusing abilities will help you in acquiring empathy skills. The bad news is that it may not be natural at first. Fortunately, empathy is a learned capability and like other competencies, it can be acquired.

Here are some steps to take to begin improving empathy as an effective management tool. Like all the emotional competencies, it is better to practice with an experienced coach who can monitor and give effective feedback. Reading a book and taking a class can both help to gain a greater cognitive understanding of what is involved. However, empathy skills must be learned experientially, that is, practiced in the field in real-time.

Ten Ways to Develop Empathy

1.    Keep a note of situations in which you felt you were able to demonstrate empathy and a note when you felt you did not. Make a note of missed opportunities to respond with empathy.

2.    Become aware of incidents where there may be some underlying concerns that are not explicitly expressed by others.

3.    Make a note of possible emotions or feelings that the other person may be experiencing. Keep an open mind and never assume, merely explore the possibilities.

4.    Develop a list of questions to ask at your next encounter with that person. Try to make the questions open-ended, that is, questions that can’t be answered by yes or no.

5.    Practice listening without interrupting. Wait until the other person is complete with their point of view before offering yours.

6.    Avoid being defensive in order to create an open dialogue where possibilities can be explored freely.

7.    Allow creative time for people to express opinions and ideas without judgment.

8.    Practice active listening: always check out the meaning of what was said with the person speaking. Paraphrasing what was said helps to clear up misconceptions and to deepen understanding.

9.    Always bring focus back into the conversation. Remember that optimal effectiveness is achieved by a combination of focus and empathy.

               10. Work on achieving an effective balance of focus, goal orientation and empathic listening.

The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence 

The following examples of research offer a bottom-line rationale for emotional competency training in hiring, selecting, and retaining personnel, developing performance measurements, and in managing customer relationships.

After supervisors in a manufacturing plant received training in emotional competencies such as how to listen better and help employees resolve problems on their own, lost-time accidents were reduced by 50 percent, formal grievances were reduced from an average of 15 per year to 3 per year, and the plant exceeded productivity goals by $250,000 (Pesuric & Byham, 1996).     

In another manufacturing plant where supervisors received similar training, production increased 17 percent. There was no such increase in production for a group of matched supervisors who were not trained (Porras & Anderson, 1981).

The US Air Force used the EQ-I (Emotional Quotient Inventory, Multi-Health Systems, Toronto) to select recruiters and found that the most successful recruiters scored significantly higher in the emotional competencies of assertiveness, empathy, happiness and emotional self-awareness. They found that by using EI to select recruiters, they increased their ability to predict successful recruiters by nearly three-fold. The immediate gain was a saving of $3 million annually.

An analysis of more than 300 top level executives from fifteen global companies showed that six emotional competencies distinguished star performers from average: influence, team leadership, organizational awareness, self-confidence, achievement drive, and leadership (Spencer, 1997).

Financial advisors at American Express whose managers completed the Emotional Competence training program were compared to managers who had not. During the year following training, the trained managers grew their businesses by 18.1% compared to 16.2% of those whose managers were untrained.

In a large beverage firm, using standard methods to hire division presidents, 50% left within two years, mostly because of poor performance. When they started selecting based on emotional competencies such as initiative, self-confidence, and leadership, only 6% left in two years. The executives selected based on EI were far more likely to perform in the top third: 87% were in the top third. Division leaders with these competencies outperformed their targets by 15 to 20 percent. Those who lacked emotional competencies under-performed those that did by almost 20% (McClelland, 1999).

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Noticing: What YouTube Can Teach Us

Category: 

 

Noticing: An Elusive Leadership Skill

“Leaders often fail to notice when they are obsessed by other issues, when they are motivated to not notice, and when there are other people in their environment working hard to keep them from noticing. ~ Harvard Business School Professor Max BazermanThe Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See (Simon & Schuster, 2014)

As a leader, you’re responsible for making key decisions each day. But how confident are you in your ability to notice all pertinent information?

If you’re like most leaders, you probably believe your perception skills are keen. As convinced as you may be, it’s possible that you’re overestimating your aptitude. What’s in front of you is rarely all there is.

Even if you have a superior grasp of common blind spots, you must remain alert for unplanned surprises and acknowledge your cognitive biases. Even the most venerated leaders make egregious mistakes, failing to notice—or even ignoring—essential data. As they handle an emerging crisis, they may ask: “How did this happen?” or “Why didn’t I catch this sooner?”

They should really be asking themselves:

·      “What information should I have gathered, beyond the basic facts?”

·      “What information would have helped inform my decision?”

Imagine your advantage in negotiations, decision-making and overall leadership if you could teach yourself to spot and evaluate information others routinely overlook.

More than a decade of research shows that successful leaders take no notice of critical, readily available information in their environment. This often happens when they have blinders on, focusing on limited information they’ve predetermined to be necessary to make good decisions.

What YouTube Can Teach Us

In a popular YouTube video, viewers are asked to watch a basketball game and tally the number of passes made.

The social scientists behind the video don’t really care whether you accurately record the passes. What truly interests them is whether you notice the man in the gorilla suit who walks onto the court. (In earlier research, they featured a woman with a red umbrella.) You can search for similar experiments on YouTube using the terms attentional blindness or selective attention.

Many viewers are so focused on counting passes that they miss seeing the gorilla or red umbrella. The same phenomenon frequently occurs when we problem-solve and make business decisions. We see only what we define as the “important information”—something 1978 Nobel Prize-winning economist Herbert Simon termed “bounded rationality.”

More recently, Daniel Kahneman, a 2002 Nobel Prize winner, demonstrated that systematic and predictable biases affect even the best and brightest among us. Even when we strive to be ethical and rational, we miss—or fail to seek out—critical information that’s readily available in our environment.

Noticing pertinent information is essential to successful decision-making, and it has become a defining leadership quality. Too many avoidable failures remind us of the consequences:

·      NASA’s Challenger explosion

·      Enron’s accounting irregularities

·      Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme

·      Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky scandal

·      USB, Barclays, LIBOR and other bank frauds

·      The housing-bubble collapse

The Rule of WYSINATI

Successful leadership requires vigilance. Leaders often fail to notice when:

·      They are obsessed with other issues or crises.

·      They are motivated not to notice.

·      Other people work hard to prevent them from noticing.

A catastrophic lack of vigilance occurred at JPMorgan Chase in September 2013, with estimated trading losses of $6.2 billion. CEO Jamie Dimon said he was unaware of the impending debacle, later telling the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, “It morphed into something I can’t justify.”

Responsible leaders notice when things are going seriously wrong in their organizations. Failure to do so is unacceptable. We must ask the right questions to anticipate avertable catastrophes.

Unfortunately, leaders often act as though “what you see is all there is,” according to Kahneman. They neglect to identify and obtain the additional information they need. Complacency lulls them into acting on only the most basic data provided to them.

In The Power of Noticing, Bazerman coins the term WYSINATI: What You See Is Not All There Is. With forethought and knowledge, we can learn to identify when and how to obtain missing information.

The Problems with Auditors and Board Oversight

In principle, regulatory boards are charged with overseeing leadership decisions. In reality, they  often take direction from the leaders who appointed them in the first place. Boards with even the most skilled, highly educated and experienced members all too often fail to meet their fiduciary responsibilities.

Even when outside auditors monitor companies, they cannot help but be influenced by the organizations that hire them (thus providing lucrative revenues). Despite regulations that require auditors to be independent, few truly are.

Numbers don’t lie, but the way they are recorded into the books is ripe for “flexibility.” Some auditors will accept outlying data as anomalies and discount them instead of investigating thoroughly. Others allow ineffective monitoring that favors skewed data. Professionals know better, yet an incredibly faulty monitoring system was widely accepted by financial institutions that facilitated the recent LIBOR scandal.

Lessons from LIBOR

The very banks that could benefit from manipulation of lending rates were in control of setting the rates for LIBOR. How could financial regulators ignore how easy it would be for the banks to manipulate rates for their own benefit (and at society’s expense)?

While reforms are currently being proposed, a critical question remains: Why did it take a disaster for overseers to recognize the need for commonsense changes?

The banks’ failure was a moral one: They engaged in intentional distortion of rates for their own benefit. Regulators worldwide failed  to notice that the system itself was corrupt and in need of regulatory reform.

Unintentional Blindness

Reform is necessary for most industries—not necessarily more regulation, but certainly wiser laws. Recognition of human drives, self-interest and biases should inform the way we set the rules. Even with the best intentions, ethics and honest mindsets, no one is immune from blindness and biases.

While it is always easy to spot problems in hindsight, we usually don’t recognize them in our own organizations. While we may see ourselves as scrupulous and well-intentioned, we’re usually averse to noticing our own potential for questionable ethics. This can lead us to make improper and even immoral decisions.

When a situation doesn’t seem quite right, we cannot afford to ignore data that flies in the face of commonly accepted values. This is not the time to accept insufficient evidence, refuse to raise questions, be unwilling to badger people or avoid upsetting the apple cart.

Silence and complacency promote corruption. Nonetheless, we tend to wait. We hope we’re not being overly sensitive or alarmist. We trust that others will notice and speak up for us.

When faced with small discrepancies and anomalies, we avoid seeing the slippery slope until it’s too late. Responsible leaders don’t have this luxury. They must learn to notice—and act upon—conditions before a scandal erupts.

Faulty Attribution

The best leaders are skilled at detecting deception, including patterns of indirect action and errors of omission. They also have a noticing mindset. They detect slow, gradual changes that may indicate the start of a slippery slope. They’re aware of overconfidence traps, optimism biases and positive illusions.

The human brain is fallible. It can lead us to make cause-and-effect attribution errors. Most crises can be attributed to both internal and external causes, but to which are you more likely to pay attention?

Most of us are prone to a fundamental attribution bias: When we think of our successes, we tend to come up with internal attributions and focus on what we did right. By contrast, when we think of our failures, we tend to come up with external attributions. We blame others, or the context, the economy and/or circumstances beyond our control. This can lead to dire consequences in decision-making and strategic planning.

How to Develop Better Noticing Skills

Leaders often fail to notice when their systems encourage misaligned goals. When we incentivize the wrong achievements, we often experience ineffective outcomes (for example, rewarding booked sales instead of actual profits).

Encourage employees to notice the gaps between the right actions and right results. Work teams are often in a better position to spot discrepancies, yet they may be reticent to speak up.

Develop your abilities to:

·      Pay attention to what didn’t happen

·      Acknowledge self-interest

·      Invent the third choice

·      Realize that what you see is not all there is (WYSINATI)

While effective leaders take pride in their keen focus, they may miss outlying data, omissions and the “gorilla on the basketball court.” You can benefit from stepping back, removing your blinders and noticing valuable information around you.

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

 

Categories: 

Noticing: An Elusive Leadership Skill

Category: 

 

Noticing: An Elusive Leadership Skill

“Leaders often fail to notice when they are obsessed by other issues, when they are motivated to not notice, and when there are other people in their environment working hard to keep them from noticing. ~ Harvard Business School Professor Max BazermanThe Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See (Simon & Schuster, 2014)

As a leader, you’re responsible for making key decisions each day. But how confident are you in your ability to notice all pertinent information?

If you’re like most leaders, you probably believe your perception skills are keen. As convinced as you may be, it’s possible that you’re overestimating your aptitude. What’s in front of you is rarely all there is.

Even if you have a superior grasp of common blind spots, you must remain alert for unplanned surprises and acknowledge your cognitive biases. Even the most venerated leaders make egregious mistakes, failing to notice—or even ignoring—essential data. As they handle an emerging crisis, they may ask: “How did this happen?” or “Why didn’t I catch this sooner?”

They should really be asking themselves:

·      “What information should I have gathered, beyond the basic facts?”

·      “What information would have helped inform my decision?”

More than a decade of research shows that successful leaders take no notice of critical, readily available information in their environment. This often happens when they have blinders on, focusing on limited information they’ve predetermined to be necessary to make good decisions.

What YouTube Can Teach Us

In a popular YouTube video, viewers are asked to watch a basketball game and tally the number of passes made.

The social scientists behind the video don’t really care whether you accurately record the passes. What truly interests them is whether you notice the man in the gorilla suit who walks onto the court. (In earlier research, they featured a woman with a red umbrella.) You can search for similar experiments on YouTube using the terms intentional blindness or selective attention.

Many viewers are so focused on counting passes that they miss seeing the gorilla or red umbrella. The same phenomenon frequently occurs when we problem-solve and make business decisions. We see only what we define as the “important information”—something 1978 Nobel Prize-winning economist Herbert Simon termed “bounded rationality.”

More recently, Daniel Kahneman, a 2002 Nobel Prize winner, demonstrated that systematic and predictable biases affect even the best and brightest among us. Even when we strive to be ethical and rational, we miss—or fail to seek out—critical information that’s readily available in our environment.

The Rule of WYSINATI

Successful leadership requires vigilance. Leaders often fail to notice when:

·      They are obsessed with other issues or crises.

·      They are motivated not to notice.

·      Other people work hard to prevent them from noticing.

Responsible leaders notice when things are going seriously wrong in their organizations. Failure to do so is unacceptable. We must ask the right questions to anticipate avertable catastrophes.

Unfortunately, leaders often act as though “what you see is all there is,” according to Kahneman. They neglect to identify and obtain the additional information they need. Complacency lulls them into acting on only the most basic data provided to them.

In The Power of Noticing, Bazerman coins the term WYSINATI: What You See Is Not All There Is. With forethought and knowledge, we can learn to identify when and how to obtain missing information.

Unintentional Blindness

While it is always easy to spot problems in hindsight, we usually don’t recognize them in our own organizations. While we may see ourselves as scrupulous and well-intentioned, we’re usually averse to noticing our own potential for questionable ethics. This can lead us to make improper and even immoral decisions.

When a situation doesn’t seem quite right, we cannot afford to ignore data that flies in the face of commonly accepted values. This is not the time to accept insufficient evidence, refuse to raise questions, be unwilling to badger people or avoid upsetting the apple cart.

Silence and complacency promote corruption. Nonetheless, we tend to wait. We hope we’re not being overly sensitive or alarmist. We trust that others will notice and speak up for us.

Faulty Attribution

The best leaders are skilled at detecting deception, including patterns of indirect action and errors of omission. They also have a noticing mindset. They detect slow, gradual changes that may indicate the start of a slippery slope. They’re aware of overconfidence traps, optimism biases and positive illusions.

The human brain is fallible. It can lead us to make cause-and-effect attribution errors. Most crises can be attributed to both internal and external causes, but to which are you more likely to pay attention?

Most of us are prone to a fundamental attribution bias: When we think of our successes, we tend to come up with internal attributions and focus on what we did right. By contrast, when we think of our failures, we tend to come up with external attributions. We blame others, or the context, the economy and/or circumstances beyond our control. This can lead to dire consequences in decision-making and strategic planning.

How to Develop Better Noticing Skills

Leaders often fail to notice when their systems encourage misaligned goals. When we incentivize the wrong achievements, we often experience ineffective outcomes (for example, rewarding booked sales instead of actual profits).

Encourage employees to notice the gaps between the right actions and right results. Work teams are often in a better position to spot discrepancies, yet they may be reticent to speak up.

Develop your abilities to:

·      Pay attention to what didn’t happen

·      Acknowledge self-interest

·      Invent the third choice

·   Realize that what you see is not all there is (WYSINATI)

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience  elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?”  Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

 


 

 

Categories: 

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Create Purpose Driven Cultures

Category: 

 

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Create Purpose Driven Cultures

I’ve learned over the years that my most effective executive coaching and leadership development clients know the “why” of what they are passionate in achieving. They get excited in my office telling me inspiring stories of their hopes and struggles. They have a growth versus fixed mindset, and are optimistic and forward thinking. They live and work on the edge and flourish.

Successful organizations are driven by an over arching sense of purpose.  Operated by people with a strong sense of personal and professional passion, they view profit (or shareholder value, or the bottom line) as a result, not a reason for being in business. 

Shift your thinking and focus on what matters most - your organization's reason for being - and a culture that puts human capital first. These are the building blocks for success in a new era of relentless competition where the rules of the game have all changed. 

Take an inspiring journey through the principles that will drive success for companies in today’s economy. Identify your organizations over arching purpose and ignite passion on your team. Create a happy company where people can unleash their creativity and do their best work.

Emotionally intelligent leaders know that people need a sense of purpose to engage their enthusiasm and to be part of a greater cause and nobler endeavor. Mindfulness training can help you create a purpose-driven corporate culture where fired-up people collaboratively execute a well-designed strategy. Envision not what is possible or probable, but what your less innovative competitors think is impossible..

Purpose-Driven Leadership

Knowing why you’re here, and who you want to be, isn’t a part-time job. The challenge is to live out what you stand for, intentionally, in every moment. ~ Tony Schwartz, author

Far from being touchy-feely concepts touted by motivational speakers, purpose and values have been identified as key drivers of high-performing organizations.

·    In Built to Last, James Collins and Jerry Porras reveal that purpose- and values-driven organizations outperformed the general market and comparison companies by 15:1 and 6:1, respectively.

·    In Corporate Culture and Performance, Harvard professors John Kotter and James Heskett found that firms with shared-values–based cultures enjoyed 400% higher revenues, 700% greater job growth, 1,200% higher stock prices and significantly faster profit performance, as compared to companies in similar industries.

·    In Firms of Endearment, marketing professor Rajendra Sisodia and his coauthors explain how companies that put employees’ and customers’ needs ahead of shareholders’ desires outperform conventional competitors in stock-market performance by 8:1.

Leaders who have a clearly articulated purpose and are driven to make a difference can inspire people to overcome insurmountable odds, writes Roy M. Spence Jr. in It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand for.

“Life is short, so live it out doing something that you care about,” he writes. “Try to make a difference the best way you can. There’s an enormous satisfaction in seeing the cultural transformation that happens when an organization is turned on to purpose.”

While a well-designed strategy and its effective implementation are required for business success, neither inspires followers to maintain engagement during troubled times. Purpose must tap into people’s hearts and help them give their best when the chips are down.

Don’t ever take a job— join a crusade! Find a cause that you can believe in and give yourself to it completely. ~ Colleen Barrett, president emerita of Southwest Airlines

In a company without purpose, people have only a vague idea of what they’re supposed to do. There’s always activity and busyness, but it’s often frenetic, disorganized and focused solely on short-term goals. There’s a lack of direction and commitment to purpose.

Top executives erroneously look to the competition when making decisions, rather than making up their own minds about what really matters. This lack of clarity leads to poor business decisions and failed product launches. Employees who work without purpose experience the consequences.

“Across organizations, nearly every survey suggests that the vast majority of employees don’t feel fully engaged at work, valued for their contributions, or freed and trusted to do what they do best,” reports Tony Schwartz in a recent  HBR.org blog post. “Instead, they feel weighed down by multiple demands and distractions, and they often don’t derive much meaning or satisfaction from their work. That’s a tragedy for millions of people and a huge lost opportunity for organizations.”

Lack of Full Engagement

Put simply, satisfied and engaged employees perform better. In a Towers Watson study of roughly 90,000 employees across 18 countries, companies with the most engaged employees reported a 19% increase in operating income and 28% growth in earnings per share. Companies whose employees had the lowest level of engagement had a 32% decline in operating income and an 11% drop in earnings.

People enjoy being engaged in meaningful work. Humans, by nature, are a passionate species, and most of us seek out stimulating experiences. Companies that recognize this and actively cultivate and communicate a worthwhile corporate purpose become employers of choice.

A major Gallup Organization research study identified 12 critical elements for creating highly engaged employees. About half deal with employees’ sense of belonging. One of the key criteria is captured in the following statement: “The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.”

After basic needs are fulfilled, an employee searches for meaning in a job. People seek a higher purpose, something in which to believe. If, in your role as a leader, you aren’t articulating what you care about and how you plan to make a difference, then you probably aren’t inspiring full engagement.

Energy and Creative Flow

Having a purpose provides context for all of one’s efforts, and it’s a chief criterion for “flow”—the energy state that occurs when one’s mind, body and entire being are committed to the task at hand. Flow turns mundane work into completely absorbing experiences, allowing us to push the limits of skills and talents.

Flow and commitment also create healthier, happier employees, while driving innovative thinking. To tap into full engagement, leaders must clearly identify and articulate what truly matters to the company:

·   Why are we in business?

·    What difference do we want to make in the world?

·    What’s our most important purpose?

On some level, everyone wants to live a purposeful life, yet we are distracted by societal pressures to achieve wealth and prestige. There are indications, however, that this is changing. Just as GNP fails to reflect the well-being and satisfaction of a country’s citizens, a person’s net worth actually has little to do with personal fulfillment.

It is difficult to impossible to truly inspire the creators of customer happiness — the employees —  with the ethic of profit maximization…It is my experience that employees can get very excited and inspired by a business that has an important business purpose. ~ John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market

Leadership starts on a personal level and permeates one’s function in a company, community and society. While countless books address the importance of finding personal purpose, how does it play out within an organizational context? How do you link your personal purpose and values to those of your company?

Finding a Business Purpose

As work evolves in the 21st century, separating our professional and personal lives proves to be an artificial divide. Your personal purpose influences your work purpose, and vice versa.

A company’s purpose starts with its leaders and works its way through the organization. It shows up in products, services, and employee and customer experiences.

An inspirational purpose often lies hidden within an organization. The following suggestions will help you identify and articulate key elements:

1. Revisit your organization’s heritage (past history).

2. Review successes. At what does the business excel?

3. Start asking “why?”

4. What won’t your organization do? Review false starts and failures.

5. Talk to employees.

6. Talk to top leaders.

7. Talk to high performers.

8. Talk to customers.

9. Follow your heart.

Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your calling. ~ Aristotle

A purpose is informed by the world’s needs. When you build an organization with a concrete purpose in mind — one that fills a real need in the marketplace — performance will follow.

Ask the following questions:

·   Why does your organization do what it does?

·   Why is this important to the people you serve?

·   Why does your organization’s existence matter?

·   What is its functional benefit to customers and constituents?

·   What is the emotional benefit to them?

·   What is the ultimate value to your customer?

·   What are you deeply passionate about?

·   At what can you excel?

·   What drives your economic engine?

Mission statements used to have a purpose. The purpose was to force management to make hard decisions about what the company stood for. A hard decision means giving up one thing to get another.  ~ Seth Godin, marketing expert

When a mission statement is well written, it serves as a declaration of purpose. But corporate mission statements are often little more than a descriptive sentence about products, aspirations or desired public perceptions. They’re more powerful when they clearly and specifically articulate the difference your business strives to make in the world.

Leaders who want to succeed should straightforwardly communicate what they believe in and why they’re so passionate about their cause, according to business consultant Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (Portfolio, 2010).

Most people know what they do and how they do it, Sinek says, but few communicate why they’re doing it.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy into why you do it,” he emphasizes.

If you don’t know and cannot communicate why you take specific actions, how can you expect employees to become loyal followers who support your mission?

The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in. ~ James Baldwin, author

The Bridge to What Matters

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. ~ Helen Keller

Great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Walt Disney always communicated their “why”—the reasons they acted, why they cared and their future hopes. Great business leaders follow suit:

·   Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, believed air travel should be fun and accessible to everyone.

·   Apple’s Steve Wozniak thought everyone should have a computer and, along with Steve Jobs, set out to challenge established corporations’ status quo.

·   Wal-Mart's Sam Walton believed all people should have access to low-cost goods.

·   Starbuck’s Howard Schultz wanted to create social experiences in cafés resembling those in Italy.

Once company leaders have identified and clearly articulated what they stand for, it’s up to you to build a bridge between the business’ purpose and your own values:

·   In what way can you make a difference through company products and services?

·   How can you express what truly matters in the work you do?

·   In what ways can you make a difference in the world through the people you work for and with?

Making a Difference

When you share your greater cause and higher purpose, listeners filter the message and decide to trust you (or not). When listeners’ values and purpose resonate with your own, they are primed to become followers who will favorably perceive subsequent messages.

You cannot gain a foothold in someone’s brain by leading with what you want them to do. You must first communicate why it’s important.

Strive to be like the leaders who never lose sight of why they do what they do and why people should care. Only then will you inspire your people to attain sustainable success.

Leaders are the stewards of organizational energy. They recruit, direct, channel, renew, focus and invest energy from all the individual contributors in the service of the corporate mission. The energy of each individual contributor in the corporation must be actively recruited. This requires aligning individual and organizational purpose. ~ Authors James Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

Executive Coaching for Creating an Execution Culture

Category: 

 

Creating a Culture Driven by Purpose and Passion

I’ve learned over the years that my most effective executive coaching and leadership development clients know the “why” of what they are passionate in achieving. They get excited in my office telling me inspiring stories of their hopes and struggles. They have a growth versus fixed mindset, and are optimistic and forward thinking. They live and work on the edge and flourish.

Successful organizations are driven by an over arching sense of purpose.  Operated by people with a strong sense of personal and professional passion, they view profit (or shareholder value, or the bottom line) as a result, not a reason for being in business. 

Shift your thinking and focus on what matters most - your organization's reason for being - and a culture that puts human capital first. These are the building blocks for success in a new era of relentless competition where the rules of the game have all changed. 

Take an inspiring journey through the principles that will drive success for companies in today’s economy. Identify your organizations over arching purpose and ignite passion on your team. Create a happy company where people can unleash their creativity and do their best work.

Emotionally intelligent leaders know that people need a sense of purpose to engage their enthusiasm and to be part of a greater cause and nobler endeavor. Mindfulness training can help you create a purpose-driven corporate culture where fired-up people collaboratively execute a well-designed strategy. Envision not what is possible or probable, but what your less innovative competitors think is impossible.

Creating an Execution Culture

“Execution is the great unaddressed issue in the business world today. Its absence is the single biggest obstacle to success and the cause of most of the disappointments that are mistakenly attributed to other causes.” ― Ram Charan, author of What the CEO Wants You to Know and Boards that Work.

In the year 2000 alone, forty CEOs of the top 200 companies on Fortune’s 500 list were removed – fired or made to resign. When 20 percent of the most powerful business leaders lose their jobs, something is clearly wrong.

Leaders make big promises… and then there are big gaps in what their organizations actually deliver. They have problems with accountability– people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do.

Execution is not just something that does or doesn’t get done. Execution is a culture with specific set of behaviors and techniques that companies need to master in order to have competitive advantage.

Execution is not only the biggest issue facing business today, it is something nobody has explained satisfactorily. Execution is not just tactic – it is a discipline and a system. It has to be built into a company’s strategy, its goals, and its culture. And the leader of the organization must be deeply engaged in it.

“Many people regard execution as detail work that’s beneath the dignity of a business leader. That’s wrong … it’s a leader’s most important job.” ― Larry Bossidy, former chairman and CEO, Honeywell International

According to Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy in their book Execution (2002), a lack of focus on the discipline of execution is the main reason companies fall short on their promises. It explains the gap between what leaders want and what they deliver.

It is a system of getting things done through questioning, analysis and follow-through. It is a discipline for meshing strategy with reality, aligning people with goals, and achieving the results promised.

It should be a central part of a company’s strategy and goals and the most important job of any leader. It requires a comprehensive understanding of the business, its people, and its environment. An execution culture links the three core processes of any business – the people process, the strategy, and the operating plan – together to get things done on time.

The execution phase forces the leaders to translate the broad-brush conceptual understanding of the company’s strategy into an action plan for how it will all happen: who will do what in which sequence, how long those tasks will take, how much will they cost, and how they will affect subsequent activities.

Execution is a systematic process of rigorously discussing “what, how, and why”, of questioning, tenaciously following through, and of ensuring accountability. In its most fundamental sense, execution is a systematic way of exposing reality and acting on it. Most companies do not face reality very well. That is the basic reason they can’t execute

Execution Questions

  • Which people will do the job– and how will they be judged and held accountable?
  • What human, technical, production and financial resources are needed to execute the strategy?
  • Will the organization have the resources it needs two years out, when the strategy goes to the next level?
  • Does the strategy deliver the earnings required for success?
  • Can it be broken down into doable initiatives?

People engaged in the processes argue these questions, search out reality and reach specific and practical conclusions. Everybody agrees about their responsibilities for getting things done, and everybody commits to those responsibilities.

3 Core Processes:

People, Strategy & Operations

The heart of execution lies in the three core processes: the people process, the strategy process and the operations process.  Every business uses these processes in one form or another. The three core processes of people, strategy and operations are familiar to practitioners of the Balanced Scorecard and the Strategy-Focused Organization management approaches.

In a study of winning companies that spanned more than ten years, professors William Joyce and Nitin Nohria found that there were four primary management practices that directly correlate with superior corporate performance, as measured by total return to shareholders. Winning companies achieve excellence in all four of these primary practices: execution, strategy, culture and structure (What Really Works, 2003).

However, more often than not, these three core processes stand apart from one another like silos. Typically, the CEO and his senior leadership team allot less than half a day each year to review the plans – people, strategy, and operations. Typically, too, the reviews are not particularly interactive. People sit passively and watch PowerPoint presentations.

They don’t debate, and as a result often they get few useful outcomes. People leave with no commitments to the action plans they’ve helped create. This is a formula for failure. What is needed is:

·    Robust dialogue to surface the realities of the business

·    Accountability for results – discussed openly and agreed to by those responsible for getting things done

·    Rewards for the best performers

·    Follow-through to ensure that progress tracks to the plans

Robust Dialogue

You cannot have an execution culture without robust dialogue – one that brings reality to the surface through openness, candor and informality. Robust dialogue requires that an organization has the information it needs to understand reality, and has the ability to  make the right decisions.

When mistakes are made, openness is preserved and blaming avoided. The information is used for course correction. Candor and honest conversations foster creativity and ultimately leads to competitive advantage and shareholder value.

Emotional Fortitude

It takes emotional fortitude to be open to whatever information you need, whether it is what you want to hear or not. Such fortitude gives you the courage to accept opposite points of view and deal with conflict. It takes a special kind of confidence to encourage and accept challenges in group settings. It is necessary to be able to accept and deal with your own weaknesses and vulnerabilities, to be firm with people who aren’t performing, and to handle the ambiguity inherent in fast-moving, complex organizations.

4 Core Qualities

Bossidy and Charan point out four core qualities that make up emotional fortitude:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Self-awareness
  3. Self-mastery
  4. Humility

Clearly these four qualities should be well-developed by the time an executive reaches a top position within a corporation. However, often one or two of them may appear to be underdeveloped. Leadership development at this level requires the services of a professionally trained executive coach to provide focus and guidance in enhancing these four qualities.

Execution Is the Main Job

Leaders often bristle when they are told they have to run the three core processes themselves. “You’re telling me to micromanage my people, and I don’t do that.” Micromanaging is a big mistake because it diminishes people’s self-confidence, saps their initiative and stifles their ability to think for themselves.

But there’s an enormous difference between leading an organization and presiding over it. The leader who boasts of a hands-off style or puts faith in empowerment is not dealing with the issues of the day. He or she is not confronting the people responsible for poor performance, or searching for problems to solve and then making sure they get solved.

Leaders – at all levels – must become passionately engaged in the organization, recognizing that execution is their main job. Putting the right people in the right jobs and ensuring that rewards and recognition reinforce performance are essential.

Bossidy and Charan emphasize that leaders must build and sustain a “social operating system,” involving continuous review meetings that make up the day-to-day execution management and that link performance and rewards. Review meetings provide the framework needed to create common ways of thinking, behaving and doing.

The Leader’s 7 Essential Behaviors

What exactly does a leader in charge of execution do? How does she or he keep from being a micromanager, caught up in the details of running the business? There are seven essential behaviors that form the building blocks of execution:

  1. Know your people and your business
  2. Insist on realism
  3. Set clear goals and priorities
  4. Follow through
  5. Reward the doers
  6. Expand people’s capabilities
  7. Know yourself

Most executives and managers don’t understand the “discipline” of execution. It is not simply a matter of trying harder or paying more attention to details. Execution involves a specific set of core processes built on a foundation of leadership behaviors; it’s a culture unto itself.

Recommended reading:

Execution: the Discipline of Getting Things Done (2002) by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Crown Business, New York, NY.

Three Keys to Effective Execution

Here are three recommended keys to translating strategy into action, from Melissa Raffoni, “Three Keys to Effective Execution” (Harvard Management Update, Feb. 2003).

  1. Maintain your focus. What characteristics are necessary to stay in focus? You can’t go wrong if you think about maintaining a realistic attitude, simplicity and clarity. How realistic are your plans given your resources? How realistic is this plan given the marketplace and the target customers?

The strategy must be as simple as possible. Usually only a few goals can be pursued effectively at any time. Simple, clear objectives that are commonly understood throughout the organization are best. Distilling strategy to its essentials can deepen employees’ understanding.

  1. Develop tracking systems that facilitate problem solving. Develop measures not only for planning but for the execution phase as well. Do your measures really tell you whether you’ve accomplished the objective? Does the tracking system get to the heart of the problem you’re trying to fix? The right measures help make expectations clear.

Don’t let the data get in the way of discussing why things aren’t working. Facing reality makes the difference. It is up to the leader to see that meaningful conversations take place after all the numbers are reported.

  1. Set up formal reviews. Successful execution of plans means continual reviews. Meetings should track objectives and variances with a critical eye towards corrective action.

People and resources should be a top priority at review sessions. The right people need to be in the right roles. This means continual evaluation.

Resources must be in place to execute successfully. Do your people have what they need? Managers who excel in execution rely on dashboard tools or summary documents to track resources and objectives. Some firms use quarterly action booklets that list major objectives, key actions, resources and dates. The goal is to balance simplicity with thoroughness. You must get a clear picture of the primary initiatives, the key metrics they are impacting, and who is accountable for each, in order to have a true measure of your progress.

Resources for Execution

Bossidy, L. & Charan, R. (2002). Execution: the Discipline of Getting Things Done. Crown Business.

Bruch, H. & Ghoshal, S. (2004). A Bias for Action. Harvard Business School Publishing.

Collins, J. (2001). Good To Great: Why Come Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t. Harper Business.

Collins, J. & Porras, J.I. (1994). Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. Harper Collins.

Contrada, M. G. (2003). The Discipline of Execution. Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.

Joyce, W., Nohria, N., Roberson, B. (2003) What Really Works; The 4 + 2 Formula for Sustained Business Success. Harper Business.

Pfeffer, J. & Sutton, R.I. (2000). The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action. Harvard Business School Press.

Raffoni, M. (Feb. 2003) Three Keys to Effective Execution. Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

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