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Entries for the 'Influencing Others' Category

Why Would I Trust You With My Future?

Friday, June 20th, 2008

We are asserting that your firm’s success might be deeply connected to the success of your individual team members. (Be sure to catch up on the entire series Influencing Others.)

Imagine how much more committed to the company’s goals employees would be if they believed you were committed to helping them achieve their career goals. They’d go all-out for you.

Let’s say you rewrote your job description to include a responsibility to help your key players reach their professional goals whether or not those goals involved staying in your employ. What a great leader you’d be, right?! You wouldn’t know what to do with all the loyalty and energy and dedication that would result.


And this is a big but.

It’s not really safe to tell you
my professional aspirations, is it?

If you knew I was working my way toward a transfer to another department, a credential for another field, a transition to another part of the country, or a promotion that would complicate your own plans, would you really choose to use that knowledge for my benefit? Or would your commitment to yourself and the firm take over and ultimately use the information against me?

Even if you could resist the temptation, is there any reason for me to trust you? After all, you have the power in the relationship. The risk of revealing my career aspirations is entirely mine.

Think about it.

What could you do to build trust and create a safe environment for everyone to celebrate and support each others’ career trajectories regardless whether they involve each other?

Wouldn’t three to five years of over-the-top engagement be better than ten to fifteen years of squeezing out the-bare-minimum?

Listen In -> Influencing Others #4: Organizing for Trust and Results

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

We close out our podcast series on Influencing Others with a conversation about organizing in such a way that builds trust and results.

If you were to write out your company goals in one column and the professional goals of your team members in another, how much overlap or dove-tailing would you find?

Could there be significant clues about the direction where your company might find the most success in the directions your key players are most passionate about?

Listen in.

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Entitlement Mentality is a Poor Excuse

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Some worry that organizing around the team will foster an entitlement mentality among employees that will backfire on the well-meaning leader. Empowerment will lead to unrealistic expectations that in turn will force the leader to buckle to ever-increasing demands that will eventually break the organization.

I’m sorry, but I’m not sympathetic to this line of thinking. It’s what I call a leadership excuse. And, of course, since our hallmark is No Excuses Leadershipâ„¢, we don’t go there.

There are unexpected complications, extenuating circumstances, and disingenuous employees everywhere. These are the leadership realities we face and never form the basis of a rationale for poor results, weak decisions or ineffective policies.

Back to entitlement. How employees respond to radical empowerment varies. Hence the tight link with accountability for results.

To forfeit the potential of an empowered, fully engaged team in order to avoid the occasional risk of destructive entitlement mentalities is like giving up the benefits of a regular exercise routine because there’s a risk of injury. The risk is real, sure, but the solution erased your only chance for success. What good is that?

Where do your solutions remove more than the presenting problem and inadvertently undermine what you need to make progress?

Catch up on the entire Influencing Others series here.

Listen In -> Influencing Others #3: Clarity and Commitment to the Team

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Does it matter who’s in the chair?

In this week’s podcast, we discuss the hard fact that working with people requires knowing who those people are. Who they are and what they bring to the table. Their personalities, their strengths, their skills, their working styles and their professional passions to name a few.

Most leaders use organizational charts and job descriptions as a basis for hiring. What if the job descriptions and organizational charts flowed from the make-up of the people chosen to be on the team?

Think about it, and then listen in.

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3 Keys to Securing Employee Buy-In

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

If we’re going to hold people accountable to achieving the mission of the organization, they not only have to know what it is, they need to buy in. Unless their hearts are invested as much (if not more) than their heads and hands, we are squandering our most valuable resource.

Employee buy-in cannot be commanded, coerced or manipulated. What options then does the leader have for winning the hearts of the team for the mission of the organization? In this weeks podcast, we discuss three keys to securing employee buy-in:

  1. Begin well by hiring well. Remember you’re hiring a person not a job description. These initial interviews are your chance to discuss the mission of the organization and gauge understanding, interest and passion. Don’t make the mistake of only looking for skill competence when hiring.
  2. Provide on-going perspective by continually articulating how an employee’s individual part fits into the organization’s whole. People can get absorbed in the details of their particular role and lose sight of its significance to the organization’s mission.
  3. Verbalize appreciation. Instead of a general word of thanks, try being more specific. “Thank you for (what was done in specific and concrete detail) because it (it made this beneficial and measurable difference).” What how people come alive and go the extra mile when they feel their contribution has been recognized and appreciated.

You cannot purchase employee buy-in. You have to win it. Earn it. Nurture and sustain it.

How do you go about winning the hearts of your team to your organization’s mission?

Listen In -> Influencing Others #2: Clarity and Buy-in to the Mission

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

The key to effective accountability is not threats or sanctions, but a clear vision of the future.

Who you are, why you exist, where you are going and how you intend to get there as an organization.

Of course, having a clear organizational mission is helpful only to the extent you have buy-in from the rest of the team. We need our teams to pour their hearts and souls into the effort, not merely rent us their hands and feet.

In this week’s podcast conversation, Claudia and I discuss the power and importance of these two crucial aspects of your organization’s mission: clarity and buy-in.

Listen in.

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Toxic at the Extremes

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Operating at any extreme rarely works well.

Empowerment and accountability as extremes are toxic. As partners they are generative.

Authority and resources for making an individual contribution along with expectations for achieving specific results.

Empowerment alone is a recipe for chaos, diluted focus, and the tyranny of individual entitlement agendas. Accountability alone is a recipe for abusive manipulation, unrealistic and unfair standards, and begrudged work efforts.

But get ready for an explosion of energy, engagement and results when you hold empowerment and accountability in creative tension with each other.

Claudia and I are discussing this right now in our current podcast series on Influencing Others. Be sure to click on the player in the right column and listen in.

How do you combine the extension of authority and resources to empower individual contribution along with the expectations and accountability to achieve specific results?

Listen In -> Influencing Others #1: Empowerment and Accountability

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

The solution is a tension. When it comes to influencing others, there are no shortcuts.

If you were hoping for tips on how to manipulate people into doing much more for much less and then thanking you for the privilege, you’ll probably be disappointed with our current podcast series on Influencing Others.

Join us as we discuss a powerful and inseparable relationship between empowerment and accountability. A total commitment to results and achieving the mission of the organization on the one hand, and a total commitment to trust and creating a place where people engage fully and bring everything they have to the table on the other.

Over the next four weeks, we will be discussing:

  1. Empowerment and Accountability
  2. Clarity and Buy-in to the Mission
  3. Clarity and Commitment to the Team
  4. Organizing for Trust and Results

Listen in.

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