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The #1 Tool Successful Leaders Use To Radically Shift Their Reality

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

As a leader, in what area of your life do you need to shift from being disempowered to being empowered?

We form our own reality based on visual, auditory, and kinesthetic cues. These cues recall our beliefs about the world and ourselves (our identity), which results in either feeling good or feeling bad. If you’re on a sales team that feels bad, chances are you won’t be achieving your quota because your energy will be low as well as your motivation and creativity. Is there anything you can do right now to feel better and be more productive?

Stuff happens, and sometimes we need to do a quick “pattern-interrupt” to pause our default and choose a better-feeling alternative. Remember, it is not what happens that matters but rather, what it means that matters. Change the meaning, change the feeling. We need to make more helpful meaning. Reframing is a terrific tool for making new meaning quickly and easily, as well as for editing your belief system in the process.

By formal definition, reframing is a way of viewing and experiencing events, ideas, concepts, and emotions to find more useful alternatives. It is a practical and valuable tool to shift perception, including your perception of yourself or others’ perceptions of themselves.

Think of reframing as putting on a different pair of glasses. What would you see if you put on a pair of sunglasses with a heavy tint when you were in a dark room? You would see shadows and dark forms you couldn’t identify. What would happen when you took off those glasses? You may see the most beautiful room in the world. When you switch your glasses, what you see changes.

Reframing, mentally and linguistically, does the same thing. It changes the story you tell yourself about what happens.

Harvard researchers proved a while back that the stories we tell ourselves shape our world. The good news is that we can also create new stories about the decisions we’ve made about ourselves, our abilities, and the world. We have the power to change our experience. Here are two examples.

In Business

Initial story: It’s really hard getting a job fresh out of college these days. The market is crowded, and overqualified people are competing for every single job. No wonder I’m unemployed and it’s tough.

Reframe: It’s awesome that there are a lot of people job hunting right now because it gives a person the opportunity to really bring his or her “A Game” to stand out. I’m sending my résumé in creative ways to get an interview, I’m doing more research than I ever have done before to prepare for interviews, and then I’m following up after the interviews using different methods. I am learning a ton!

See how the meaning shifts from defeat and deciding that job hunting will be hard (which means it will be because the universe is an exquisite mirror) to a sense of power, can-do, creativity, and agility?

In Personal Life

Initial story: I was a girl in a household of boys. My brothers and parents wanted another boy, so I was perpetually left out and labeled as a disappointment. I’ve never been good enough.

Reframe: I grew up in the perfect family to learn to see and honor my unique value. I was given great opportunities to be independent and forge my path in life. I also learned to be self-reliant, which has made me strong and fearless.

See how the meaning she is making shifts from disempowering to empowering?

 

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Featuring case studies and proven techniques, Power Your Tribe provides a set of powerful neuroscience-based tools to help managers identify emotions, release resistance, end isolation, focus on outcomes, and course-correct for continued success.

Learn More
 
 
 
 
 

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Why Is Resistance A Necessity For Growth?

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

You may be familiar with the Chinese finger trap. It’s a toy that traps the victim’s fingers (often the index fingers) in both ends of a small cylinder woven from bamboo. The initial reaction of the victim is to pull their fingers outward, but this only tightens the trap.

Resisting our experience has the same effect. We resist things, situations and people we perceive as hurtful, painful, or threatening to our safety, belonging, or mattering. Without these three key emotional experiences, we can’t shift to our Smart State and we can’t navigate our constantly changing landscape to reach self-actualization. Also, we are wired to resist what we believe will create a worse feeling for us.

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Resistance Is The First Step Towards Change

The origin and etymology of resist (Late Middle English) is from the Latin resisterere- (expressing opposition) + sistere (to stand). Aha! So resistance really means to stand in opposition. What are you taking a stand against?

Let’s also take a look at the word reject, which is what we’re doing when we are resisting our Present State. The origin and etymology of reject (Late Middle English) is from the Latin verb rejacerere- (back) + jacere (to throw). Reject means to throw back or throw against. This stance isn’t just in opposition, it is opposing by attack. Yikes, this is even worse than resisting.

Resistance isn’t necessarily bad. It’s often simply the first step of navigating change. The goal is to move forward rather than get stuck resisting. Resistance shows that someone is engaged to a degree, which is much better than being disengaged. Don’t be surprised if resistance turns to mockery, as some people express their upset that way. As leaders, it’s essential to move your team through this stage by asking what they are resisting.

To help them identify what’s being resisted, ask them to contemplate what’s:

  • Annoying about the particular change or initiative
  • Dumb about the particular change or initiative
  • Unreasonable about the particular change or initiative

Then we address what we can, with the agreement that they’ll try the new initiative or plan. Ultimately they’ll find some aspect of it to be useful. Over time this process will become habitual and eventually a new standard is established. Voilà! Enjoy the afterglow, until the next change comes along.

Embrace Change And Gain Energy

The trouble with resistance is that it takes a tremendous amount of energy in the form of pushing back and rejecting. When we direct energy toward what we don’t want, it actually helps draw it toward us. For example, the more you try to pull your fingers out of the Chinese finger trap, the tighter it becomes.

You’ve likely heard the expression “what we resist persists.” Look at what you’ve resisted. Did they stick around in your life longer than you would’ve liked?

Resistance merely stabilizes your Present State. Whatever we focus on, we fuel. When we resist the emotion, we make it stronger.

Once we embrace resistance, we are ready to transform resistance.
 

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Featuring case studies and proven techniques, Power Your Tribe provides a set of powerful neuroscience-based tools to help managers identify emotions, release resistance, end isolation, focus on outcomes, and course-correct for continued success.

Learn More
 
 
 
 
 

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Five Ways To Get Optimal Outcomes From Your Team

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

What makes a team optimal?

Alignment, communication, collaboration, energy management, leverage, trust, and what else?

Google did some comprehensive multi-year research on this topic. I’ll refer to it below and map it to my work during the past 30 years in the areas of safety, belonging and mattering.

I’ve found it all comes back to safety, belonging and mattering, no matter what structure you want to wrap around the idea of optimal teaming. Let’s look at what Google learned in its extensive research on the topic.

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Over the course of two years (ending in November 2015), Google conducted more tahn 200 interviews where it assessed more than 250 attributes of what makes an optimal team. The findings from the 180 teams studied were surprising.

While they had hoped to find a recipe for an optimal team (for instance, take one Ivy League MBA, one extrovert, one expert engineer), Google actually found that who was on the team mattered far less than how team members interacted, structured their work, experienced their contributions. The answer was in behavior and emotional resilience. The results echoed some of what Carnegie Mellon researchers found back in 2010 with their collective intelligence work.

They learned that five key dynamics resulted in optimal teams:

  1. Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
  2. Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high-quality work on time?
  3. Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?
  4. Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
  5. Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?

Google found that psychological safety was by far the most important dynamic. Without this people don’t feel comfortable speaking up, asking questions, checking in. There’s too much risk of being labeled as “out of it” or “clueless.” All humans want to belong to a  group, and we’ll take tremendous risks (such as not speaking out even if we feel it’s very important) if we feel we may become an outcast, lose status in our tribe or be ostracized somehow.

Googlers now use a tool they call gTeams. It’s a 10-minute check-in on the five dynamics. A modified check-in is below, one that our clients find works very well. During the past year more than 3,000 Googlers across 300 teams have used gTeams and focused on the fie factors above. They often will kick off team meetings with each team member sharing a risk they took in the past week. The net is that they’ve seen psychological safety ratings increase by 6% and structure/clarity increase by 10%. But the best part is the increased connection in the team due to increased communication.

Rate Your Team Per Google’s Five Dynamics

Consider the five factors from Google:

  • Psychological Safety
  • Dependability
  • Structure & Clarity
  • Meaning of Work
  • Impact of Work

On a scale of 1-5 where 5 is excellent, rate your experience of each factor in your team. Now total up your score. Here’s our rating format. If your total score is:

Up to 10: High Risk. There’s a lot of work to do. Use the table below to map to safety, belonging, mattering. Get a neuroscience-based coach, and get to work healing your culture.

11-18: Risky. Your team is not performing nearly as well as it could. Let’s get everyone more connected and collaborative. Time for team training and coaching.

19-25: Solid. Congrats! You’re on a high-performing team. Time to raise the bar!

Below is a shortcut to help you figure out where to focus, how to get better, and a way to talk about this concept with your teammates in a structured way.

Let’s now map frameworks:

Easy, yes?

All other models simply help you implement programs to deliver these three core human needs.

See how this model helps your team!
 

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Featuring case studies and proven techniques, Power Your Tribe provides a set of powerful neuroscience-based tools to help managers identify emotions, release resistance, end isolation, focus on outcomes, and course-correct for continued success.

Learn More
 
 
 
 
 

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Challenges Retaining Talent? Here’s What They Are Really Trying To Tell You

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

Is there a correlation between the style in which someone quits and the organization itself? A study conducted by Anthony Klotz, Oregon State University College of Business and Mark Bolino, University of Oklahoma Price College of Business discovered the 7 ways that people quit and that a connection may exist.

Let’s take a look at the 7 ways that talent quits and what a leader can do to not only increase retention, but if a person must leave, how to keep them in the categories of 1, 2 and 3.

7 Ways People Quit

  1. By The Book: 31% quit by having face to face conversations, combined with a letter of resignation that states the exact reason they are leaving along with a notice period.
  2. Grateful: 9% were positive and willing to have their departure from the organization be painless for their leader and their team.
  3. In The Loop: 8% actually had the supervisor/leader ‘in the loop’ with the resignation.
  4. Perfunctory: 29% will have a face to face conversation, give a letter of resignation and a notice period but won’t elaborate on the specific reasons they are quitting.
  5. Avoidant: 9% kept contact with the leader to an absolute minimum and involved bringing in a third party like HR or ducked out by sending in their resignation over the weekend as opposed to face to face conversations.
  6. Impulsive: 4% will reach a breaking point without having a conversation at all, there is no notice, no letter or resignation and certainly no willingness to have the transition period be as painless as possible for everyone involved.
  7. Bridge Burning: 10% will quit not only without any notice, but they want to make sure that their leader and/or organization know that they are extremely upset and why. Emotions run high and both parties lose.

There are two key points that should be examined. First, your talent has made a decision to leave. Can they be retained? Second, your talent will make a decision regarding how they will leave. Can leadership impact how they will choose to leave?

Retain Your Talent

All too often leaders don’t create and foster an environment where talent feels comfortable or confident enough to stand out. It’s easier to blend in with the crowd versus stand out and be seen.

 These individuals will see and feel the benefits they bring to the company. Talent that thrives:

In previous blogs we have discussed how to foster and nurture an environment where your talent will get and stay engaged. These tools will help you form an action plan that you can start implementing today to retain these individuals:

Prevent Drama Filled Exits

If more drama filled exits are occurring, it may be time to examine the underlying issues. In the case of Impulsively Quits or Burns Bridges, it’s not surprising that research showed those individuals may be experiencing higher levels of abuse from their leaders or they may ‘feel’ that they were treated unfairly. For these individuals, leaving in any other manner except one that is high-emotion isn’t an option. By working on creating and sustaining a workplace culture where team members are invested in their role and the success of the business, if the time comes that they must exit, the probability of them staying within the categories of 1, 2 and 3 increases.

In some cases exiting is unavoidable. They may be moving, deciding to take a different direction in their career or they simply do not want to work for your organization anymore. In these cases, how can we make this process as seamless and positive as possible for both parties?

Compassion & Communication

If both parties add compassion and communication, a win-win is created. The person leaving may decide to stay. If the circumstances surrounding their exit are unavoidable they will do all that they can to make this transition process a positive experience for everyone. When the leader holds the person exiting in a place of compassion, they will have time to reflect on the culture they are helping create at the organization and they may find ways to improve. Both situations require a culture where it’s safe to communicate, where both parties feel they matter and they know what they say will be valued. Through compassion and communication, the entire process will be filled with ease, grace and dignity.

This Tool Works! Using Effective Sales Meetings to Create Massive Momentum

How’s your sales team performing? Are they generating the high-quality leads you need on a regular basis?

If you want your sales team to be engaged and intrinsically motivated to succeed, you need to provide the incentives and structure to support success – and those incentives and structures need to be communicated clearly and regularly.

That’s why when clients come to us for help with sales and marketing effectiveness, one of the first things we often do is to streamline the sales meeting.

Your sales meetings provide key opportunities for you to deeply connect with your team and make sure they’re on track with what you need. But these meetings are only effective if you’re running them the right way.

Here are three things you must have in place for sales meetings to be effective: 

  1. An easy, clear, and concise reporting structure. Reporting should be as easy as possible for the salesperson and not include anything unnecessary.
  2. Clear deadlines for when reports need to be filled out so that status can be covered in meetings.
  3. Exciting, personalized incentives for reaching goals!

When your meetings are more streamlined and effective, and your team members know clearly what’s expected of them and how they’ll be rewarded, they’ll feel more engaged, empowered, and motivated to succeed!

After that, the sky’s the limit! Here’s what one of our clients had to say after going through this process and the steps that followed:

“When my boss said he wanted me to increase our top line sales by 30% fast I was wondering how I’d do it. We’re a huge company, and growth like this doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve been in sales for decades and increased quotas are nothing new to me. I thought I knew the ropes. Then I met the team at STI.  

STI helped us to use the latest neuroscience techniques to shift the state of our sales team to a more positive and empowered state, to streamline our sales process, to develop rapid rapport with our prospects and partners, to more deeply engage with our sales and service teams. They’re also helping us to propel innovation to new heights via an Innovation Incubator, Innovation contests, and an Innovation Advisory Board—all of which are getting our sales and engineering teams super excited. 

The result is that we now have massive momentum… we have a clear and rapid path to our increased sales, we’re getting more meetings, we’re closing faster, we’re having a lot more fun and lot less stress. I have new tools to develop my sales team faster and keep them on track. Sure wish I knew this stuff a decade ago. Thanks STI for helping us sell at the level I always knew we could.” 

~Tom Moore, Director of Sales and Marketing, Baxter Manufacturing

This tool works! Ready to put Effective Sales Meetings to work in your organization?

Start by downloading our done-for-you Effective Sales Meetings Guide to get our personal recommendations for reporting structures, meeting topics, meaningful incentives, and more. 

And then let us know how it goes! Comment on this post or send us an email. We love hearing your success stories!

Three Keys To Effectively Managing Remote Workers [Infographic]

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

In a mere 3 years the mobile workforce is projected to comprise roughly three-quarters of U.S. employees.

Is your organization ready?

According to Gallup, remote working has been on the rise since 2012: from 39% in 2012 to 43% in 2016. The desire to work remotely is here to stay and it isn’t limited to a few select industries. Gallup found that the finance, insurance and real estate industries experienced the greatest surge in time spent working remotely, followed by transportation, manufacturing or construction, and retail industries.

We love this infographic from HR Magazine which shows the latest statistics and trends:

Society for Human Resource Management

While remote work may not make sense for all organizations or for all roles within an organization, it is important to take a closer look. Whether you have a remote workforce or are thinking it may be a good idea to implement in your organization, there are ways to make sure your team stays engaged. Let’s dive into the three keys to optimizing your remote workers’ experience.

Explicit Communication:  We want to ensure that we are giving someone Safety, Belonging, Mattering via our words and written communications. When we communicate often (results, requests, info updates) we include people—and we foster a sense of us all belonging together. We want to engage everyone during meetings and if possible, have those meetings via video conferencing. Remember, only 7% of communication is the actual content, so seeing each other is essential. When relying on other methods of communication, such as text or email, you can use my coding system to optimize email communication to get optimal results. This will save time, clear up confusion, manage feedback and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Effective Delegation:  There is effective delegation, and there is “rubber band” delegation: when we delegate something and it snaps back to us incomplete. Here’s our 5-Step Effective Delegation Process that our clients find helps them to end rubber band delegation, and increase ownership and accountability. With remote workers effective delegation is even more essential as the “walking by your cubicle” conversations are non-existent. This fosters ownership and reduces the likelihood of the “order giver-order taker” dynamic, which crushes the spirit of ownership, innovation, and a feeling of empowerment.

Perceptual Positions: These make the difference! Perceptual is your perception in relation to immediate sensory experience. Position is the physical location of your body. This is an exercise that my clients and their teams have found to be extremely helpful when conflict arises in their organizations—or prior to a potentially challenging conversation taking place. This tool is ideal for remote workers because if we can gain clarity into what the other person is experiencing, even when we aren’t in the same office space as they are, we can communicate more effectively as well as understand their potential struggles. The result? Productivity rises and outcomes are achieved faster. You can try out Perceptual Positions here. The key is to get on another person’s “map”—to get a feeling for what it means to be them. Taking the time to meet a person where they are the greatest way to establish rapport, connection, trust.

Remote workers are on the rise. Are you ready?

The Surprising Link Between Customer Experience And Employee Engagement

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

How would your customers describe their experience with your firm?

Please take a moment and rate the Customer Experience (CX) that you believe you deliver:

  • Better than all companies in any industry
  • The best in our industry
  • Considerably above average in our industry
  • Slightly above average in our industry
  • Average for our industry
  • Slightly below average in our industry
  • Considerably below average in our industry

Now, what CX would you like to deliver within 3 years?

Credit: Temkin Group Q1 2017 CX Management Survey

Data: Q1 2017 CX Management Survey of 180 organizations with $500 million or more in annual revenues

According to Aimee Lucas, Customer Experience Transformist and VP at Temkin Group, 55% of all the companies surveyed want to be best in their industry or better than all companies in any industry when it comes to the level of CX they deliver they deliver within three years. That’s a big crowd wanting to get into a small, small slot.

As Aimee and I caught up at the recent North American Employee Engagement Awards it became crystal clear: it’s time to stress the connection between Employee Engagement (EE) and CX. Now.

Customers today have a louder voice (think Yelp and other rating sites), have access to more information on you and your competitors, and as a result expect an increasingly awesome experience. And they should.

Meanwhile your competitors are launching new products and services faster than ever before, and are consistently raising the bar on CX. And they should.

So what’s an organization to do?

Arm yourself with these 3 CX-Boosting Strategies!

3 CX-Boosting Strategies

1) Become A CX Leader — By Focusing First On Employees

CX leaders (companies whose CX is significantly better than their competitors) have more engaged employees. Here’s what Temkin Group found:

Credit: Temkin Group Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, 2017

Base:   5,552 U.S. consumers employed in for-profit organizations

How exactly does engagement work? What happens in the brain when we are engaged?

Engagement comes from feeling good, from passion for the company, from meaningful work, from attaching part of one’s identity with their job. And this comes down to some neurotransmitters and a hormone. As leaders when we intentionally help the brains of our employees to generate dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin we create good feelings for the organization. Dopamine (anticipation of reward) and serotonin (feeling good, well-being) and oxytocin (bonding, feeling connected to others) can be created via a number of programs in your Cultural GAME Plan.

So how do you become a CX leader and get engaged employees? This is where HR comes in…

2) Get HR To Connect EE And CX

HR owns the cultural programs, so it’s key that they are first looped into Employee Engagement (EE) so they can help support CX. First a strong mission, vision, values sets the tone for your tribal purpose and code of conduct (oxytocin). Next, acknowledging employees for being models of your values creates social validation (dopamine and serotonin). There are many more ways that you can read about in my many blogs on employee engagement and in #3 below.

Next, when HR runs regular SBM Indexes, you can easily diagnose and cure and engagement dis-eases so you can continuously raise your engagement bar.

 It matters, it’s a reflection of them and what they believe in, who they are, how they show up in the world.

According to Temkin Group’s research when HR is significantly involved in CX the organization is 50% more likely to be a CX leader. Wow.

Is HR involved in CX at your organization?

Credit: Temkin Group 2016 HR Professionals Survey

Which brings us to the next item to check on our list, specifics for creating EE and CX.

3) Clarify Exactly How/Where HR Can Support EE And CX

Here are some ways that HR can forge the EE-CX link…

All of the above examples and blogs will help you keep the brains of your employees in their Smart State, which will in turn help your customers spend more time there too! Smart State = Engaged, Aligned, Tribal, Together.

Two Myths About Strategy — And Two Tools To Make Yours Work

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

We all know that setting a strategy matters. It’s one of the first steps to steer your company to achieve its goals and fulfill its mission. So why do strategies so often fail?

Because making strategies work requires execution.

Why Strategies Fail

Strategies fail when the average bear doesn’t know how to execute, and they aren’t empowered to adjust to meet the goals. When strategies stay in the clouds, employees get lost in the woods. Meanwhile, back on Earth, they’re trying to figure out exactly what to do to execute the strategy.

When organizations chunk down their strategic plans into tangible, measurable, specific quarterly goals, their teams know what to do. They can keep moving and course-correct if they get off track.

Two Myths About Effective Execution

In a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog Donald Sull, Rebecca Homkes, and Charles Sull report on their effective strategy execution research. They interviewed 7600 managers in 262 companies across 30 industries to gather their data. Organizations studied in their sample were typically large (6000 employees on average, with median sales of $430 million), and across volatile sectors including financial services, IT, telecommunications, and oil and gas.

The research busted several myths about effective strategy execution. Two of which I find essential to discuss in the context of why strategies fail. I’ll also share two simple tools that will help you put your strategies to work!

Myth # 1: Execution Means Sticking to the Plan

No strategic plan can accurately predict the future. Even if a plan includes detailed roadmaps that specify who should do what, when it should be done by, and what resources are needed. In practice, unforeseen crises or unexpected opportunities can throw plans off.

Leaders must make it safe to adapt to address obstacles and capitalize on opportunities. Because sometimes sticking too rigidly to the plan can run counter to the strategic objectives.

That’s why I find one of the most important activities any organization can undertake is to create the right decision-making spaces when setting accountabilities.

TOOL #1

Decision spaces cover what someone fully owns, and can make autonomous decisions about. So when something unexpected happens, they are empowered to make decisions swiftly, effectively, and in accordance with their competency. Put simply, they don’t need to call on anyone to make the call!

Compiling a list of answers to the following will help you when setting decision spaces:

  • What you can make decisions about
  • What you can’t make decisions about
  • Who to escalate a decision to that is outside of your space

Myth #2: Communication Equals Understanding

It is true that people in the organization need to know exactly what the goal is, why they are doing it, how their department is going to achieve it, how each team member is going to contribute, and what the success metrics are.

However, many executives believe that communications (e.g. emails sent, presentations delivered, etc.) are automatically understood. Not so! Sending out communication pieces does not guarantee they are understood. Just like sharing a lot of words with someone doesn’t guarantee they are heard properly, nor does it mean it will inspire the right actions.

TOOL #2

One of the simplest tools you can use to help staff understand and connect to a strategy is the Outcome Frame (OF). The OF simply helps chunk your strategy down — it brings great clarity as to the “why” and “how” of it, and then you can distribute this clarity to the relevant areas of your organization.

In addition to helping people understand their accountabilities, the OF also emotionally engages the team in the outcome that we hope to achieve from the strategy. This is helps them have their own insights around it — which is key.

Employees must feel connected to the strategy. Human beings make decisions based on emotion, and they will default to activities that lead to the best-feeling. No emotional connection, no engagement. Period. 

This doesn’t mean work must be all about joy, happiness, or inspiration.

Here are some of the OF questions I recommend using to elicit detailed responses from people. I’ve provided sample responses for clarity’s sake:

1. What would you like? “I want to double our client retention rates.”

2. What will having that do for you? “I will feel happy, fulfilled, and excited about the work I do — and the team I have! It will also give me more commissions to send my kids to the best colleges, making me a proud parent!”

3. How will you know when you have it (specifically)? “50% of the existing client base I oversee will agree to renewing and extending their contracts with our company for at least another 2 years.”

4. Where, when, with whom do you want this? “At this main office which is responsible for 2 major global markets (U.S. and U.K.), by the mid-year, with my team of four.”

5. What of value might you risk or lose to ensure you achieve this outcome? “I would be willing to let go of clients who are no longer aligned with our mission, vision, and values — so we can focus on those who are. I will overcome my disagreements with Sales and collaborate with them to help identify and secure new client accounts that are better aligned with us. I’d also have to spend more time cultivating my team, so I’d likely lose a few hours of strategic time each week for the first 3 months of this change.

6. What will likely happen if you don’t solve this the way you want? What will be the impact on your business and life? “Not achieving this outcome would delay funds available for reinvesting in product development. If we don’t fund innovation, we might lose market share to our competitors. Personally, this places financial stress on me as a parent providing for three children at home. Since part of my commission is based on retention metrics.”

7. What are your next steps? “Schedule a meeting with the sales team to define the optimal client profile, meet with marketing on retention programs and outreach to new prospects, set up recurring meetings with my team to mentor them on our new approach, set monthly targets and celebrations as we approach our goal.”

Try these tools to boost the success of your strategies. Then let me know your results!

The Only Effective Way To Deal With Conflict

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

What leadership and organizational behaviors would you like to change?

I had the great good fortune in 2010 to spend a week with the Dalia Lama on his tour, supporting him behind the scenes as he interacted with thousands of people. One of the things he likes to say is “recognition is liberation.” When we see, when we recognize, when we increase our self-awareness and awareness of others, then we are liberated — we are free to take a new path. Thanks to Kim Scott’s work, Radical Candor is a tool that enables us to offer feedback and empower behavior changes in all our interactions.

Why Radical?

Some people find the word radical a little scary. Yet radical means you take the leap and have the courage to say the stuff that you were thinking anyway. And you say it within a framework that is emotionally sensitive and considerate.

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What Is Radical Candor?

• The opposite of conflict avoidance! Conflict avoidance is not dealing with what is right there in front of us. Have you ever avoided something because you thought it was going to be unpleasant, but the act of avoidance resulted in a brain-dominating background process? That background process drained so much energy that you couldn’t focus on the things that you really wanted to create. But what would happen if you just sat down and dealt with the problem? In my clients’ experience, one of the most common things they say is “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” or “This was so much more painful in my mind than it was in reality!”

• The ability to give feedback that challenges the receiver directly while showing you care about them personally. We have to have both sides. We are challenging and we are caring.

• Immediate impromptu guidance. We want to do things immediately, we don’t want to let things stew.

• A leadership stance of Humble and Helpful.

 The more we start to realize that life is one big collaboration and we all need each other to get stuff done, the more positive outcomes we will experience, on a personal and organizational level. There’s very little that we can do alone.

Feedback is:

•Private if negative

•Public if positive

Radical Candor Benefits

• Makes back-stabbing impossible — either they work it out or you help them

• Makes it easier to speak truth to whomever is in power

• Will help you and your team do the best work of your careers

• Will improve the depth and quality of your relationships

Let’s dive into the quadrants of radical candor. Start to think about where you default, especially when you are in Critter State. Please note that these quadrants describe behavior, they’re not a judgment of who someone is as a person.

 

Obnoxious Aggression Quadrant: The person is willing to challenge directly but they don’t care personally. We’ve all encountered someone like this. Their feedback is harsh and it’s not aimed at a collaborative positive outcome. Does this make the recipient want to change their behavior? Nope. It’s easy to challenge people without caring, but ineffective in creating change.

Manipulative Insincerity Quadrant: The person isn’t willing to challenge you directly and they really don’t care about you. We have all experienced this. Imagine a visit to the DMV where they aren’t willing to help you, they hand you a pile of paperwork with a false smile and you feel stuck in a bureaucratic swamp. What experience does this behavior generate? Does it make you angry? Disgusted? Frustrated? Not helpful.

Ruinous Empathy Quadrant: The person really cares but they aren’t willing to challenge you. This is the quadrant of excessive empathy. Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin did some interesting research regarding the differences between empathy and compassion. Empathy means we are stepping into their shoes, in neuroscience we call it switching, we are actually switching into them. If someone is upset, then we become upset and start to own their emotions. Empathy is tough because we lose our ability to be resourceful. We’re as stuck as the other person. We aren’t witnessing their experience, which allows us to bring resources or at least hold space for them to have their experience. Compassion, on the other hand, is the ability to hold space and go “wow, that must be really hard” and use our resources to help them.

Radical Candor Quadrant: The person is caring personally and they are willing to challenge us directly. This is the desired quadrant.

Two CEOs, Two Choices

A few months ago I was working with an executive team at a retreat. The executives were practicing radical candor and gave some feedback on a behavior they’d like to see the CEO change. He had a tendency to bully but was not eager to admit this. After a while he finally copped to it, saying “ok, this is something I need to work on. I commit to do so.” I was really proud of him. His executive team was really proud too… until the next day, when he railed at everyone again and said he wasn’t going to do this “ridiculous radical candor” and dismissed all the great work we had done the prior day.

His executive team is now discouraged. They reach out to me now and then expressing their disappointment in the CEO. But I cannot help — he isn’t willing to look into his blind spots and do the work to grow. So he’s not coachable.

A month later I was working with another executive team. In this case the CEO stood up and said “hey! I get it! I am too hard on you all! I need to change this.” And he is now doing the work. His executives are super proud of him, inspired, motivated, raising the bar on their own performance, and the company is soaring.

How To Establish Rapport & Shift Quadrants

What can shift these behaviors? When someone’s behavior is in one of the three challenging quadrants, what can you bring them that will establish rapport and why? Our good friends Safety, Belonging, Mattering.

Obnoxious Aggression:

What can you bring: belonging and mattering. First, they need to be reminded that you’re in this together (belonging) and they may be having a hard day but you know they care, that’s the kind of person they are, they are bigger than this (mattering) . Bring them back to their humanity and the caring will flow.

Manipulative Insincerity:

What can you bring: mattering first and belonging second — they need to be seen and appreciated (mattering) and asked for help. Connect to them on a human level (belonging) with a personal comment so they see you aren’t a number, you’re a human like they are. Then you’ll likely get the win-win result you want.

Ruinous Empathy:

What can you bring: safety in order to challenge, then belonging and mattering. Here you’ll want to show them you have their back (safety), you are in this together (belonging), and you see they care enough (mattering) to speak their truth.

As you look at these four quadrants, when you go into Critter State, what’s your default? Where do you go and what story do you tell yourself? Remember, human beings are meaning making machines. When something happens, we make meaning. Our power is that we have the choice to decide if that meaning is empowering or disempowering.

5 Signs Your Top Performers Are Going To Quit And What You Can Do To Retain Them

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

How many of your top performers have quit, leaving you, their leader, wondering why or what happened?

People will quit before they ask for what they want or tell you what is wrong. That’s why knowing what to look for is so powerful.

Red Flag Behaviors

1. Productive And Accountability Drop: They are missing deadlines, not achieving needle movers, they aren’t keeping normal hours or if they are in the office – they aren’t ‘all there’. They stop making commitments to long-term projects and aren’t offering forward thinking ideas. They don’t seem to care or want to step up, grow, stretch or course correct. Your once top producer is now not producing.

2. Communication Stops: They aren’t proactively contributing in meetings, they aren’t responding to emails/phone calls in a timely manner or sometimes they don’t respond at all. They are isolating. They are only doing the minimum or less in regards to keeping the lines of communication open and constructive. When asked if everything is okay, they get defensive.

3. Negative Attitude And Behavior: They are expressing negative things about work, they aren’t satisfied, they have nothing positive to say, they aren’t optimistic or outcome focused or pro-active, they play the blame game and they may even display bullying behavior.

4. Change In Appearance: Drastic changes in appearance, combined with changes in behavior can indicate that they aren’t interested in how they are perceived at work or they don’t feel that they are “seen” at work so how they dress doesn’t really matter.

5. Team Members Are Concerned: When team members come to you and express their concerns, this is something that you should consider serious. Your top performer works closely with team members and they will be the first to notice subtle changes. It’s important to ensure that these concerns don’t become office gossip but don’t dismiss these concerns before taking a moment to check in with the top producer.

Simply put, all of these red flag behaviors equal one thing – your once top performer is now disengaged and instead of contributing positively to the company, they behavior is having a negative effect.

Once you see the behaviors, you can take action.  It is easier to respond to the intention of a behavior rather than the problem. It also helps us to groove our brains in useful ways.

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Disengagement Is The Foundation

All of these factors equal disengagement and that is the core of knowing that someone is ready to jump ship. How do you know when to throw them a lifeline or when to let them go? When my clients have a top performer that is becoming disengaged and displaying signs that they are going to quit – they find it powerful to check in with them before that team member checks out.

Let’s create an environment where you as the leader get the results you want and your top performers feel powerful, effective, enrolled and engaged.

Create Resolution 

My 7 Step Feedback Frame (with some modifications for the disengaged employee) is outlined below. It helps everyone get to a shared positive understanding.  This is a process you can do with your struggling top performer. It’s essential to come from caring, listening, first finding out if the person wants to stay and then forging a go-forward plan together.

1. Set the stage – explain why you’re meeting and the outcome you want (to form a collaborative turnaround plan). This is where you need to find out if something external is happening that is contributing to their disengagement.

2. State observable data/behavior – this is where you describe specific behaviors that must change and examples so the employee can “step into” the past scenarios. This is also where you gain more clarity from them on external factors.

3. Describe impact – the damage that these behaviors are doing to others/the company/the employee themselves. Also find out here the damage the employee may perceive is happening to them.

4. Check problem acknowledgement – do they agree that there is a problem? Do they agree this problem now must end? This is the most essential step. If you don’t reach agreement here, go back to step 1. Once agreement is reached you’ll notice steps 5-7 are more pleasant, as the employee will now be engaged in finding a solution!

5. Co-create a plan – set a time period (30-90 days) where you’ll meet weekly for 15-30 minutes to track their progress on releasing the challenging behaviors and fixing the external factors identified above. Make the plan very specific in terms of what you need to see and when you’ll know you got the outcome you wanted. If the turnaround doesn’t occur, state clearly what the consequences will be (lose job, etc). Also note you may have some action items here too if there’s an external factor you need to fix (your behavior, that of another, a silly policy/decision that set the employee off, etc).

6. Check understanding – is everything clear? Anything else we need to cover? Reiterate desire for a positive resolution so the consequences can become irrelevant.

7. Build small agreements – launch the plan and commit to ending the conflict once and for all. Be sure to track it frequently and make sure all concerned see the behavior change too.

Success is a two-way street.