People Follow Leaders with Vision by Susan M. Heathfield

​”When leaders share out a powerful vision and organize and staff the workplace to accomplish it, a powerful dynamic drives employee performance. When leaders walk their talk, it’s a demonstrated motivator for people. When leaders  share a strong vision, employees flock to it – even choosing the job in the company over other options.

These are the fundamentals necessary for a vision that excites and motivates people to follow the leader. The vision must:

  1. Clearly set organizational direction and purpose;
  2. Inspire loyalty and caring through the involvement of all employees;
  3. Display and reflect the unique strengths, culture, values, beliefs and direction of the organization;
  4. Inspire enthusiasm, belief, commitment and excitement in company members;
  5. Help employees believe that they are part of something bigger than themselves and their daily work;
  6. Be regularly communicated and shared, not just through monthly announcements and reminders at the company meeting, it must permeate all communication at every level of the organization;
  7. Serve as the reason courses of action are chosen, people are hired, markets are selected, and products are developed; 
  8. Challenge people to outdo themselves, to stretch and reach.”


Read the entire article here:  https://www.thebalance.com/leadership-vision-1918616


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The Appreciation Circle by Jim Johnson

Yesterday in my team’s leadership meeting, I had them experience the Appreciation Circle.  We followed these simple instructions:

1. Have the team sit in a circle so you can each see each other face-to-face.
2. The leader starts by choosing 1 person and saying something specific about why they appreciate them. 
a. “I appreciate Bobby because…”
3. Then the person that was appreciated picks someone else and does the same thing.
4. No one can be appreciated twice during this exercise.
5. The leader will be appreciated last.

There were only 5 of us in the conference room so this didn’t take long. I paid close attention to the body language of my leaders as we went through this exercise.
I saw and heard:

• Lots of smiles
• Laughter
• Eye contact
• Heads nodding in agreement with other’s comments
• Sincerity in their voices

After we finished, I shared with them my past experiences in conducting an Appreciation Circle and how it, in many instances, changed the dynamic of my team. We then discussed the following benefits of doing this with their own teams:

Benefits:

• It focuses on the positive.
• Chances are others will remark “oh, I feel the same way about _____, too!” 
• We may think our teams feel appreciated, but this exercise verbalizes it from many points of view.
• This doesn’t negate any personal improvements that need to be made by a team member. 
• This can bring your team closer together. 

My leaders and I had a very positive, encouraging session yesterday.  This exercise took about 15 minutes.  I then talked about the 2017 budget process that I was implementing.  We all left smiling.  I heard them say they would be trying this with their teams. 

Mission accomplished.

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Doing & Being Anyway…by Jim Johnson

You know these people at work. They live under the radar. But more than that, they get special recognition and even rewards for things they do when many others in the organization consistently are doing the same thing. They get promotions. They get or give themselves new titles. They undermine the company culture, but somehow they are seen as the “darlings” of the executives.

Truth: doing the right thing and being the right person does not guarantee you will win at work. You’ve been around long enough to know that life is not fair and sometimes, you end up on the short end of the deal.

Question: is living up to standards, achieving and exceeding goals, being professional and mature…is it all worth it?

Quick answer: YES! Refusing to live and act to the lowest common denominator is worth it! Doing the right thing and being the right person is always right.

It is not easy, but it’s worth it. You know that. I know that.

Being reasonable with unreasonable people is difficult.

Being certain in an uncertain work environment is difficult.

Living up to standards while others around you are trying to constantly redefine the standards to make sure their behaviors fit it…that is difficult.

While I’m not that old, I have learned some things about folks who seem to “get by” and get ahead for all the wrong reasons. It will not last forever. It won’t.

Doing the wrong thing and being the wrong person will create:

* the lack of trust from others. That leaves that person having to constantly look over their shoulder as alliances change.

* the lack of respect from others. They become a joke behind their backs.

* the manipulation of the numbers, goals, results (or at least the understanding of those things), and that will not last.

* isolation. The wrong people end up alone or with very few around them as other “followers” get tired of the games that get them no where. Followers don’t always win in these situations. It’s usually about the “wrong” leader getting ahead and no one else.

* a removal from power. When those around the wrong people have had enough, actions can be taken to remove that person from power.

The choice is yours. Do the right thing and be the right person. Looking in the mirror with no regrets is healthy and will lead to success. It will.

Is Good Enough Good Enough? by Jim Johnson

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Is good enough good enough? You’re tracking your results. You’re meeting some corporate goals. You’re exceeding others. You’re falling short on a couple. Overall, it’s pretty good. Your staff is happy. They’re feeling good about where they are. If things stay this way, the year could end good enough.

Is that good enough?

Does good enough foster new ideas and innovation?

Does good enough prepare your company for any unseen obstacles (i.e. gov’t regulations, economic sharp turns, major employer lay-offs, war, etc.)?

Does good enough build your company’s culture?

How does good enough protect your team from complacency?

What is the motivation to go out and find new business?

Believe me, I am a HUGE supporter of celebrating achievements! When your team has reached and surpassed new goals, party! I’m not talking about that here.

What happens when good enough (keep on keeping on) becomes good enough?

What I’m wondering is this:
* Will maintaining current sales levels be enough to grow your company?
* Is good enough enough momentum?
* Given your competition, the economy, your talent pool, will good enough keep you in business in 5 years?
* How will you fight stagnation with your staff? If there is no call to keep growing, pushing, reaching, stretching, achieving, what else is there?
* When does good enough become a decline in growth?
* When did good enough give cause for creating pride in the company? (Who cheers, “We’re #3! We’re #3!”?)
* Where is the line between perfection, excellence, and good enough?

I would love to read your insights on this.

“My Co-Workers Are Like Zombies” and Other Survey Items I’d Like to See by Dr. Marla Gottschalk

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Over the years, I’ve reviewed (and written) my fair share of items for attitude surveys and culture assessments. These instruments can be pivotal — serving as a barometer of sentiment within an organization. The data can help us understand shifting attitudes among contributors and the general state of “well-being” within an organization. Moreover, the data sets are often utilized to explore dynamic constructs such as job involvement, organizational commitment, job satisfaction and engagement — topics which we strive to fully understand.

The best of survey items are honest, to the point and utilize a “conversational” tone. It actually takes quite a bit of thought to write an item that effectively “captures” the spirit of a construct — and in this medium, items can sometimes appear uninspired or “flat”. Avoiding this problem often involves creative strategies. Stephen Race, an organizational psychologist who crafted a culture assessment for Jiibe, contracted a TV and film writer to edit the items he created to become more engaging. (A great idea. You can see examples of the items below marked with an asterisk.) Interestingly, each writer has their own style — some direct — some incorporating a bit of dry humor behind the core message. A few of the more “direct” items about leadership that I have drafted have been met with a moment of pause. (But happily, the items were eventually included in the final survey instrument.) Ultimately, the hope is to connect with employees and attain an honest view of their work environment.

Classic items such as “Overall, how satisfied are you with your job?”, will always prove useful. However, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the more candidly worded items I’ve seen over the years — and a few I’d like to see going forward. The items touch on varied workplace topics; leadership, feedback, decisions, work spaces, stress, and engagement.

A few items to consider, for your next survey:

I honestly don’t know who is running the show around here.
People don’t speak up here, even if they have something valuable to add.
My work aligns with my strengths.
I do the same mind-numbing tasks, over and over again.*
My colleagues are like family to me.
I avoid my boss.
I brag about the work we do in this organization.
I’m not sure that my boss knows my last name.
There are so many interruptions during my day, I find it difficult to work.
Sometimes we are so tired around here that we can’t see straight.
My boss asks me how I am doing.
I dread going to work.
People here say they are teams players, but in reality they are not.
I wouldn’t recognize our company CEO, if seated next to me.
The organization learns from its mistakes. It makes changes based on what it has learned.*
No one stops to say “thank you” in this organization.
It has been forever since my manager has told me I have done a good job.
I am recognized for what I am doing right, not wrong.
If I had my way, I wouldn’t work on another team.
I can expect to be rescued by my coworkers, if I’m drowning in work.*
People in this organization have a high level emotional intelligence.
Meetings around here are so useless, that I often feel like screaming.
My ideas are valued.
As far as the quality of my work goes, I have no idea where I stand.
I often leave work thinking that I never want to go back.
I’ve grown as a contributor since I’ve worked here.
In my opinion, open offices are “for the birds”.
Sometimes I am so focused on my work, that I delay using the restroom.

Finally, here is one from the Jiibe culture assessment, that captures a telling observation.

My co-workers are like zombies — at least like the kind of zombies who don’t joke around or have any fun.*
What are the best (and worst) items that you’ve seen? What items would you like to see? Share them with us.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She also writes The Office Blend.

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130628141223-128811924-my-co-workers-are-like-zombies-and-other-survey-items-i-d-like-to-see?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffer6f4e9&utm_medium=twitter&_mSplash=1

The Most Common Leadership Model – And Why It’s Broken

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by Mike Myatt

When organizations’ hire, develop, and promote leaders using a competency-based model, they’re unwittingly incubating failure. Nothing fractures corporate culture faster, and eviscerates talent development efforts more rapidly, than rewarding the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Don’t reward technical competency – reward aggregate contribution.

Any organization that over weights the importance of technical competency fails to recognize the considerable, and often-untapped value contained in the whole of the person. It’s the cumulative power of a person’s soft skills, the sum of the parts if you will, that creates real value. It not what a person knows so much as it is how they’re able to use said knowledge to inspire and create brilliance in others that really matters.

We live in time that has moved well beyond competency driven models, yet organizations still primarily use competency-based interviews, competency-based development, competency-based performance reviews, and competency-based rewards as their framework for doing business. It remains the best practices mentality that rules the day, when we’re long overdue for a shift to next practices. It’s simply not possible to change current behaviors by refusing to embrace new paradigms.

Sure corporations know the right buzzwords – they pay lip service to things like character, trust, passion, purpose, EQ, collaboration, creativity, etc., but they really don’t value them in the same way they value competency. One of the problems is competency is predictable and easy to measure, and corporations like predictable and easy. However just because something is easy to measure doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to measure, and certainly not when measured in a vacuum.

Competency should represent nothing more than table stakes – it should be assumed. Having the requisite level of competency to do your job is not to be rewarded – it’s to be expected. The train is really off the tracks when being technically and/or functionally qualified to do a job makes you a high potential.

The value organizations should be cultivating and curating in people is their ability to align purpose, vision, values, character, and commitment with demonstrated competency. Competency isn’t the entirety of a person’s worth, and it certainly shouldn’t be the gold standard of their measurement. It’s a small part of the equation, but in many cases corporations treat it as if it’s the only thing that matters.

Here’s the thing – you can possess the greatest technical wizardry under the stars, but that doesn’t make you a leader. If you don’t care, aren’t collaborative, can’t communicate, fail to take input and feedback, and allow your hubris to overshadow your humility, you might be intelligent, but in my book you’re not very bright. The really sad part of this story is how often this type of person is rewarded in a competency-based system.

We must recognize competency-based leadership models simply don’t work. They are deeply rooted in the foundations of command and control structures, and they’ve outgrown the value they afforded organizations as nations moved beyond the industrial era. Competency based models simply create alignment gaps at every level – organizational gaps, talent gaps, leadership gaps, cultural gaps, diversity gaps, positional gaps, value gaps, operational gaps, execution gaps, and the list could go on. A leader’s job is to close gaps – not create them (the subject of my next book – Hacking Leadership due out this Fall).

If you want to create a true culture of leadership, it’s necessary to actually lead. Smart thinking and acting must start to take precedence over soaring rhetoric. It takes more than paying lip service to a few soft skills on a performance scorecard to get the job done. It will take a cultural shift in actually understanding, recognizing and rewarding what we say we value. The bottom line is this – the people who spend the most time complaining about the lack of talent are the ones who don’t recognize talent to begin with – don’t be that person.

Thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter @mikemyatt

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2013/03/28/the-most-common-leadership-model-and-why-its-broken/