Question: Need help to end political games at workplace
The behavior that persists is the behavior that gets rewarded and supported, either openly and tangibly, or hidden and intangibly...which leaves me with this question for you.
What behaviors are you willing to put on the 'do not tolerate' list that would shift the culture?Read more
Question: Should we welcome back a former executive who left on bad terms?
Well, there are three things that come to mind. The first is read the book "The No Asshole Rule" by Robert Sutton who actually came up with a formula to show the cost to a company for having one, regardless of their high achievement. As you already noted there was a marked improvement in the office with the company still thriving.
Second, if he is hinting at going to a competitor, he's already r...Read more
Question: Hiring a younger member in Senior Management team
I don't have answers, I have questions:
1. What is the message you are looking to send to the company by hiring someone younger?
2. What is the culture of your company?
3. What is the benefit of being led by someone younger?
4. What paradigms and mental models will people need to relinquish in order to gain maximum leverage of a move of this sort?
5. What company values would this hire be aligned...Read more
Question: How best to improve team performance?
If you want them to work as a team, ask them to solve the problem of how to function more as a team. Let them create the methodology by working together.....you guessed it "as a Team".
In my observation, teams work best when they have a team task, such as the one I describe...simply saying "you need to work better as a team" won't do it. Let them create the groundrules, roles and responsiblities...Read more
Question: What is involved in an executive coaching process?
Big question. Here are some of the things to be aware of:
A. There will be a huge range of types of interaction that people will call "coaching" - some will be consultants using the word, some will be credentialed through a coaching body like International Coach Federation, some will be PhD's who are Organizational Development oriented, some will be people with a specific "Leadership" frame or ph...Read more
Question: Strategies for stakeholder engagement in a new project
Simply pose the question to ALL the stakeholders involved... "How can we speed up the process of getting total involvement for all stakeholders so it doesn't slow down vital progress on our new projects?"
While there may be some "tried and true" methods that others will propose, I'm a proponent of the people experiencing the challenge being the generators of the solution.
What happens then is th...Read more
Question: Tools to assess corporate culture
you've actually already assessed the culture you have simply by your observation, it's a culture of silos, wherein people's individual agendas and absence of personal responsibility fracture any notion of unity and singlemindedness of organizational purpose...
The question isn't what IS the culture that exists, the question is what is the culture that you all want to shift to?
The culture re...Read more
Question: How do I respond to my subordinate who discredits me?
Out of the brief scenario, I'm not sure about a few things so it's hard to posit an response. I have some questions:
!. What did the boss say exactly to him in turning down the raise? You'll need to know this because it will tell you whether or not they truly have your back or not.
2. What questions have you asked your boss about how they want this situation handled? Them just saying "handle...Read more
Question: Business case for creating a Chief Culture Officer
What is the nature of the current culture? There's already one there, whether it's explicit or not. So the question is about what distinctions to you want to clarify in the culture shift/ change/ upgrade/ encoding?
Re: which of the two paths to take, well, I would pose the question which path is congruent with the culture you're seeking to embody? Might as well start the 'culture clarity' proces...Read more
Question: Overcoming unwillingness to lead
Is it the position of leadership he's avoiding for the responsiblity for the follow through to the outcome?
What I'm curious about is what the nature of the conversation is that you've had about this phenomenon. If you haven't had a direct conversation about this then what is preventing you? If you have then what has he said that might give you an indication of where his reluctance/ hesitance/...Read more
Question: Use of Myers Briggs and other personality assessments in workplace
My colleagues have raised both pros and cons of MBTI as well as other assessments already so I'll go in a different direction. It's been my observation that people get hired or placed on a project for the skills and experience and get 'fired' for their behavior and attitude.
What occurs to me then is that the true question of a team's effectiveness is not only are roles and responsibilities match...Read more
Question: What is the best way to negotiate the work commitment with a CEO?
As for your question about it being an opportunity, I'm afraid I may not be of that much help because my experience with this scenario (and yes I've seen it before) is found in these observations and questions.
1. What are the consequences of turning it down?
That's one of the first questions to be clear about, because if 'no' is not an option then 'yes' is not a choice.
2. What is your experie...Read more
Question: What is the best way to communicate with a person who pushes boundaries?
My curiosity is about what you have already attempted in this scenario? Obviously some kind of conversation needs to happen or if happened, didn't do what was wanted.
The question isn't so much about boundaries as it is about fulfilling job description. If it's in his job description to report that info to you first then he is not doing his job, which makes it a performance issue.
If he thi...Read more
Question: Developing a "top talent" pipeline
The short answer is YES!
Often the source of disengagement or poor performance can be linked to a bad fit. If HR has done the due diligence on the hire in the first place then the employee in question isn't without skills, or talents. However in a climate where people want a job/any job, they will often present what others want to hear in order to get the job, even if it doesn't necessarily inclu...Read more
Question: Are micro-cultures in one organization a bad thing?
Being inclusive is always of value...it occurs to me that your question is really one for key stakeholders to answer along with questions about the ramifications of what changing the value set would have on the business. Perhaps a conference of the key players about this would be useful.
I particularly noted this about your question: "high-product quality culture as something that defines us"...Read more
Question: Practical advice for busy managers to coach their staff
I hesitate to recommend this but if you or others don't have time to do the coaching then perhaps:
A. the managers themselves need to be coached on 'having more time' to develop their people since the level of the development of the people directly affects their performance and impacts not only the bottom line but the managers time crunch
B. the coaching needs to be done by outsiders who don...Read more
Question: Measuring effectiveness of the management team
The answers are contingent on each person's definition and parameters of what the words 'effective management team' means. So it would be useful to tease those definitions out via open inquiry and then see where the lines of agreement are. After that, then see what the team wants to do about what they perceive to be gaps...Read more
Question: Separating signal from noise in strategy discussions
I try not to duplicate what's been done well by my previous colleagues, so I'll offer a couple other ideas. The first is in answer to your question: "What is the best way for us to get a wider view from the employees to feed into the agenda?"
One of the more powerful things you can do is crowdsource that question. What I mean is, instead of you guys at the leadership level trying to find out t...Read more
Question: Long-term career coaching with a specific goal
Mike's response is right on the money...I would add that a mentor approach might help you navigate the nuances and shadings of your particular organization as long as the mentor works from principles vs. programs. Here's an example: When I've been hiking with my wife, who has longer legs than I do, our hiking styles are different. On the way up, because I cycle, I'm the faster climber. However on...Read more
Question: How do I make my annual job evaluation meaningful?
It sounds like your assessment of the evaluation is right on target. The current evaluation process is basically useless.
When performance evaluations have no consequence then they have no meaning. This scenario neither rewards high performers nor challenges low performers. As I see it, this is an organizational and culture issue. You would have to initiate a re-org of some kind wherein peo...Read more
Question: High-performing manager with behavioral issues
both my colleagues have a great approach...however I would recommend something different. Go to amazon.com and pick up the book "No Asshole Rule:Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't " by Robert Sutton
Despite the language, there's a high cost to having one in the workplace. Sutton points out what the cost is, including even establishing a cost to the company with a formu...Read more
Question: Dealing with a subordinate who does not respect lines of authority
I believe Mike gave a great answer and I would add the half he didn't address. My curiosity is:
1. What has your boss said about this phenomenon?
2. How are the stakeholders and your boss inadvertently or consciously supporting this behavior?
3. What conversations do you need to have with them?
The bottom line in any organization for me is that somewhere, somehow, any behavior that is consis...Read more
Question: Performance review with high-performers, without managerial skills
Some questions for you:
"How has the company perpetuated the notion that performance reviews are a raise/promotion scenario?"
"What new communication needs to occur so people can distinguish a review designed for alignment from a review designed to assess promotion?"
"To what degree are the employees made aware of what the real criteria and expectations are regarding moving to a position of man...Read more
Question: Implementing the organizational matrix
While you see the value in the matrix and the company at large, what I don't see you articulating is what's in it for the Site GM's to change on a personal level. You mentioned they would have their autonomy reduced as is often the case with expansion where standards of performance and delivery are now required in order to maintain Brand.
What I'm wondering is what conversations you've had with t...Read more
Question: Getting consultant performance tied to results
Straight up. If you guys can't be direct with them about what's upsetting you and what your concerns are, then the relationship is already out of balance. They may or may not want to shift to new metrics however any consultant worth their salt would be willing to adjust unless they thought they couldn't deliver on the performance based payments.
What will be important on your end, is that your...Read more
Question: How can chief executives source unbiased information
Well, there are several thoughts that come to mind.
1. mastermind groups with other CEO"s...sometimes being in "good company" with players of your calibre who are not in your industry, are a great source of input. they can play with you at your level because they're not afraid of you, and your level of disclosure is up to you.
2. trusted advisor - in the tradition of the motley fools who hav...Read more
Question: Public speaking to get the audience truly excited
I've taught presentation skills for over 30 years to everyone from Actors and Rock bands to executives for large and small meetings. Here are some questions and a couple of observations that seemed to have been valuable for people I've worked with.
1. In the category of : Know your audience - Since you want to get them excited about the achievements, what do you know about what gets this particul...Read more
Question: Persuading a reluctant professional to get coached
my colleagues have all offered great advice and I concur with them. Given that none of us has actually spoken to him all we have is conjecture about what's going on.
A. no one can be forced/persuaded to be coached. if you have to it's already an uphill battle
B. there may be root cause to resist change in the collapse of identity with validation..he's been getting validated for his top performan...Read more
Question: Kickstarting a mentorship program
My frame comes from the curiosity of the quality of the mentoring so I have a series of questions for you to consider
1. How will you 'vet' the mentors? What I mean is you mentioned that not all senior managers will make good mentors and I agree so I'm curious about how you go about getting a mentor that is approved of and what the process for that discernment might be.
2. What training will y...Read more
Question: Best practices in driving organization-wide change
There are two strategies that can be used independently or intertwined.
A. Crowdsource it...one of the reasons change is challenging is because it's usually attempted to be "driven" by some one or a few someones. Crowdsourcing would have you pose the challenge to the organization at large and have them come up with a number of solutions. This does four things,
1. it takes away the feeling of h...Read more
Question: Use of internal cultural ambassadors
Just a quick question...As with countries, any ambassador is a simultaneous representative of all three: past present and future...
So...What has you not clarifying for them their cultural ambassador role as a past/present/future endeavor?
They need to be stewards of the past who need to help others integrate into the present with a willingness to be the cultural ambassadors of change for t...Read more
Question: Coaching my team to think more broadly, practically
I'm going to approach your question from a mentor POV rather than coach. So this will come across more in the 'telling zone."
True coaching involves more inquiry than advocacy. This draws out their own capacity for being able to solve situations on their own. So what I wonder is whether or not you've been attempting to actually 'coach' or have been doing something more akin to managing/educating...Read more
Question: Looking for a way to have more strategic executive meetings
First, great that you see the issue, it's not always that easy to step out long enough to see it.
I'd say you're in a classic challenge of being hooked by the adrenaline start up energy and beginning to notice that it will take more than just putting out fires to generate sustainability.
Your question calls for several paths:
1. Leadership needs to shift from being hands on to being eyes forwa...Read more
Question: Resolving board conflict in a family business group
Well, since I'm a big fan of the idea when there's a problem facing the group that one puts the problem in the group's hands to solve...I'd say pose that entire challenge, including what' you've articulated here into a truth telling message. And then ask, how do we want to solve this?
You'll need to get their attention and it may have to be provocative in some way to do so.
You might contextual...Read more
Question: Challenges in optimizing the use of IT helpdesk personnel
Ask them. One of the simplest answers I've found to handle most employee issues is ask them to solve the problem. It has several benefits.
A. they solve the problem
B. they illuminate the nature of their resistance to having a solution in the first place
C. they get to take ownership of any solution/upgrades since it was their solution which is often more palatable than the one imposed by leaders...Read more
Question: Is transition in leadership team right time to reorganize?
So let me get this straight...you are in the middle of a transition in a reorg and yet you want to have the newbies go into the old system, and then in 6-9 months drop all that, and then transition into a new system?
Iva's comment is an ideal one, as well as the notion of "What's the value of having some chaos now in a one-off rather than having some chaos now, and then in 6-9 months throw the or...Read more
Question: How can we keep employees motivated during ups and downs of a long transformation?
1. Ask them. Too often leaders think they need to come up with the answer and then message it out to the company. Crowdsourcing solutions has gained traction in many areas of business these days and engagement is a function of the level of inclusion in the solution. Ask them the very question you asked here and see what they come up with. Especially pose it to the COI (centers of influence) among ...Read more
Question: Ensuring continued executive support in a long and difficult HR undertaking
Just curious about a couple things....What does leadership truly understand about the process and changes needing to be made? Are all the leaders aware that they themselves might feel a pinch or all they all thinking it'll be someone else and I myself will get a raise?
And lastly, personally, I would pose your question to the leadership team...and change it to..."How can WE ensure that we do ...Read more
Question: Encouraging employees to think like business owners
First, I'm not sure what you mean about 'think like small business owners'. I know what I mean but your defintion may include behaviors that I don't see. What exactly are the behaviors that you seek to shift? Without a clear vision of what that actually means it becomes generic language that is difficult to systematically implement.
Having someone come in and faciliate the mindshift desired ...Read more
Question: How can we reduce turnover in a newly acquired company?
All of what others have said have sound principles to attend to. However I offer something additional...ask. Far too often we are attempting to remedy something we only have conjecture about what's really happening in the minds and hearts of people. We take a few pieces of information, infer a conclusion and then act to remedy what appears to be happening.
Personally, if a raft of talent is l...Read more
Question: How can the board help CEO develop new leadership talent as a process?
“To be called a leader all one needs is followers, little more than sheep. To be a great leader, one needs to be worthy of being followed. Leadership is not a job description, it’s Being in action. Great leaders are known for their ability to develop self-leadership in others, not for directing traffic and putting out fires. It is a ‘given’ that all human beings are unique. It takes a ...Read more
Question: Performance appraisals during reorganization and downsizing
Well, there are several answers here...
1. Recognize and use existing baselines lightly - hold them in the context of the fluctuations of the last year. You don't expect a person to be as masterful and standing their ground during an earthquake, so give them the appropriate level of recognition for whenever and wherever they did stand their ground.
2. Identify new skills that may have been requi...Read more
Question: Does using the same coach for all executives lead to cultural identity?
there are some great answers to this already so I'll just support what others have said. In my experience there is a challenge with one coach for all. As Michelle mentioned the issue of confidentiality and chemistry loom large. There is also the potential for triangulation like passing notes in study hall trying to attain a result.
So, I agree with the multiple coaches for chemistry reasons (th...Read more
Question: How can I drive consensus in cross-functional projects?
A. no consensus is not a practical goal
B. don't try to 'drive' consensus with peers. They won't appreciate it, since they are at your level not 'below' you.
C. if you're seeking a more collaborative environment then lead by questions. Ask them in a group setting how to solve the challenges you're facing. Be the question guy, not the answer guy. When they work together to solve the problem of h...Read more
Question: Balancing candor and confidentiality in staff communications.
there are some great ideas around the topic already. Here's one I would throw into the mix to repair some of the damage.
Be transparent in the communication about the fact that there was no communication. i.e.
"We realize in reflecting back on how this transition went that we didn't communicate enough about what was going on. Some things we could tell you and some things we could...Read more
Question: How can I persuade senior executives on projects without clear ROI?
JIm, Neil and Mark all have great answers so I'll go in a different direction. It sounds like the culture is a bit of a misfit for you. If you have to work so hard to get people's attention and buy in then what I really wonder is what makes you want to play Sisyphus? Because it occurs to me that you may find an answer to it this time, but if the system and personnel don't like to play the game t...Read more
Question: How can a new leader build trust rapidly?
Here's something that may be contrary to what's already posted but give it a thought. You asked, "how can I build trust rapidly"....my answer is "you can't so stop trying".....
Trust is built over time and on an individual basis. there is no blanket recipe for trust that works for ALL people. So personal individual engagement will be of use. Finding out about them, how they work, what makes t...Read more
Question: Overcoming the challenge of public speaking
As a professional speaker there are several elements that are useful to consider:
1. Bring more than you need and use less than you have. This allows for it to be a conversation (as stated above) and not a data dump. Data dumps are inherently challenging because you are little more than a talking email or white paper.
2. Get your attention off yourself. It's not about you it's about so...Read more
Question: How do we quickly engage new employees in effective teams?
Besides the brilliance of my colleagues, two directions occur to me.
First, ask them how to do it. Nothing creates collaboration more than the act of collaborating, so pose the question to them and have them solve it.
Second, Gamify the whole process. Yup I said it, make it a game. Gamification has become a very powerful approach that has leap frogged and bypassed the normal methods of establis...Read more
Question: How can I master the dynamics in a new organization?
Since you're after collaboration then get collaborative. Pose your challenge to the others around you in a generic sense with neutral language and ask them how they would solve the problem. What that may do is give them an experience of you respecting their input and that will build trust which is the foundation of collaboration.
Second, allow time. you're a newbie to them so the other animals...Read more
Question: How does one develop an ability to "see the big-picture"?
Nice advice from others and I would add this - Ask Questions.
Much of the time people are attempting to "see the big picture" without the curiosity necessary for it to come into view. The analogy of forest/trees is a nice image, so the question is prompted, "What is the forest in this scenario...we're all looking at the trees but what is the forest?"
Having the orientation towards asking larger...Read more
Question: My boss is trying to 'own' me
First and foremost, my question is: "How attached are you to this promotion?" because that determines the paths from here. Without having clarity of what this promotion means to you in the long term, you can't begin to access your decision making process. At best you'll get a series of arbitrary strategic behaviors targeted toward damage control.
After that I wonder what your relationship is...Read more
Question: Disillusionment with the current executive coaching process
I agree with my colleagues that no coaching engagement without full participation can be effectively measured. What I perceive is that this event/experiment, has exposed a number of things about how the company functions that are worth examining. A short list might include:
What is in the culture that had the executives not have a clear communication of expectations regarding the nature of t...Read more
Question: How do we use performance appraisals to drive a change in employee behavior?
While all of the above is true there is another component to consider. Driving behavior is antithetical to process innovation and collaboration in the first place. When you think about it, it's the attempt to compel people to be more creative and play together better. That rarely works. Both are a function of the experience of the ecosystem the people are playing in.
In both senses the concept of...Read more
Question: Trouble adjusting to the culture of my new organization
There have been some great answers by my colleagues above already on this and so I won't revisit ground already covered. What I see is also missing is that there may well need to be a very frank and open conversation with the founder/president. Inadvertantly, as long as that person holds an open door to every employee policy, they will continue to bypass you when they don't like something vs. com...Read more