Leadership – How do you teach determination?

We had an interesting question last week about how to teach self-determination to employees wanting to advance. Sitting down with one employer the questions asked were aimed more at “how do I teach/make this employee take responsibility?” This is not a one size fits all – we think the two queries are miles apart.
Self Determination: self-de·ter·mi·na·tion
noun: self-determination
• The process by which an individual determines their own objectives and goals and is able to actively work towards these objectives.
• The process by which a person controls their own life.

This is good stuff. Okay – we hear you. We are ready to help with topics such as control, respect, trust, opportunities for training, image workshops, etc. “Whoa” says our director, we want employees to respect the company and work hard for the firm.

Two different objectives – but one that can certainly be solved by giving management the potential opportunity to enhance leadership skills. The outcome = determination. Be warned, not every employee in line for management is a candidate for mentorship training. There are some real stinkers out there! However, acknowledging the diverse potential in employees and identifying strengths they (and your company) can build on is the ultimate objective.

We’ve got four basic steps in employee development that will reap tremendous benefits for management’s leadership skills, individual advancement, and the fostering of your department/company. Are you ready?

Identify Your Talent: Be very clear about the department/company goals and objectives. Be much more clear about your employee’s goals and objectives. Three important questions to ask your manager/employee?
1. What do you really want to accomplish?
2. Where do you see yourself in this organization in 5 years?
3. On days that you are happy to be coming to work – what are you excited about?
Do you have a strong team member? If so, take it to the next level.

Education Opportunities: Don’t skimp on this one and most important – allow your talent to help you choose!

Be the Face of the Company: If you have an employee that has the ability to take your message to the community/public, go for it! We see too many business groups (particularly small and privately owned), reluctant to let their brightest talent tell their story. Unbelievable. Make sure your best and brightest are involved in the community (Rotary, United Way, YWCA, etc.)

Let Your Talent Plan Their Future. This is the last stage and should not be entered into lightly. Succession planning is a huge issue for structural planning, be it small business or inter-departmental planning.

What are your issues? Send us a comment!

POA – Not Just for Aging Relatives

POA – Not Just for Elderly.
• Eileen Beal
• By Eileen Beal
From Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging
January 6, 2015
We’d like to give a shout out to Eileen Beal on her recent article about Power of Attorney. Beal gave excellent direction as to the when, why and how to effect a POA for aging parent. We would like to expand her coverage to loved ones who have dimished mental capacity though issues of depression.

Our focus is based on life experience in with our office family. According to Depression Facts: Depression affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. Persistent depressive disorder, or PDD, (formerly called dysthymia) is a form of depression that usually continues for at least two years.
For those of us struggling to help siblings, cousins, children with this disease – the issues seem shrouded in humiliation and discount. This is where Beal lends valuable hand in focus and direction.
Print this out, and put it on your refrigerator. Next step – read and follow! Thank you Eileen Beal!
When Should You Get Power of Attorney For a Parent?
Multiple types of agreements cover healthcare, finances and more
________________________________________
• By Eileen Beal
• By Eileen Beal
From Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging
January 6, 2015

Credit: Thinkstock
Editor’s note: This is the sixth in the Next Avenue “When Should You…” series on aging milestones for parents or loved ones. With our partners at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, we will address common caregiving concerns.

Caregiving isn’t just about taking care of your loved one’s physical health. The deeper you get into the caregiving role, the more that realization hits you.

If your parent suffers from dementia or another degenerative condition, you might be preparing yourself to cope with the effects on both body and mind.

In the event your parent becomes incapacitated, are you prepared to step into a decision-making role? Do you know where essential documents are? Do you know what his or her care preferences are? What are your parent’s thoughts on end-of-life care or life support?

(MORE: 6 Ways Sibs Can Pull Together for Mom and Dad)

These are key topics to discuss with your parents while they’e able to participate in the discussion and make their preferences known.

Probably the most important subject is designating a power of attorney before your parents become incompetent.

How To Make A POA Agreement

Power of attorney (POA) is a formal agreement between the person who needs the agreement (“grantor”) and the person (“agent”) designated to act on the grantor’s behalf and in his or her best interests.

(MORE: How to Prepare to Become Your Parents’ Caregiver)

If there are complicated financial holdings, encourage your parents to meet with their attorney. However, you don’t need a lawyer to create the agreement, especially when there’s not a lot of money or property involved, explains senior care expert Bert Rahl, director of mental health services at Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.

And while POA forms can be downloaded from the Internet, a handwritten list of the agent’s responsibilities signed by the grantor is sufficient. However, to turn the agreement into a legal document, some states require that the form be signed by witnesses and notarized.

The best place for that, says Rahl, is “where the grantor banks, because most banks have notaries.”

Cover All Bases

Rahl stresses that the POA must be created when the grantor is totally competent because “if or when competency comes into question there’s the possibility that the legality of the POA comes into question, too.”

(MORE: Why Caregivers Need to Plan for the Worst)

Your loved one may (and probably will) need to create more than one power of attorney, including:

1. Power of Attorney for Health Care, which grants you (as the designated agent) the right to make all health care decisions for your parent when he or she is unable to do so. This document should be shared with your parent’s primary care physician and, if he or she is admitted to a hospital, included in his or her hospital records.

2. Limited Power of Attorney, which grants you limited powers and/or time to act in a specific situation. For example, a Limited POA might enable you to sell your father’s lifelong collection of baseball cards or manage your mother’s move from her current home to an assisted living community. The Limited POA expires when the task is completed or the timeframe ends, whichever comes first.

3. Financial Power of Attorney, which grants you access to and management of financial accounts and resources specifically listed in the POA. Some Financial POAs divvy up responsibilities, giving one individual access to accounts used for bill paying and another person management of stock and investment accounts.

4. Durable Power of Attorney, which grants you the right to manage all aspects of your parent’s life and finances, and health care, where specified. It goes into effect when signed and stays in effect until your parent cancels it or dies.

5. Springing Power of Attorney, which “springs” into action in case of an emergency in which your parent becomes incapacitated and unable to speak for himself or herself. When (or if) the crisis is over and he or she is able to speak for himself or herself, the POA ceases to be in effect.

Stay On Top Of The Documents

If you go the POA route, Rahl suggests making copies of all the documents involved and storing them in a safe, easily accessible place. These documents might include:

1. Title/ownership documents (deeds, stock certificates, loan papers, car title, etc.)

2. Contracts and other legally binding agreements

3. Legal documents (birth/adoption certificates, marriage certificates, wills, other/situational powers of attorney)

4. Bank records that show ownership and how accounts are held (statements, passbooks, CDs, safety deposit box information, etc.)

5. List of major assets (real estate, financial accounts, stocks, cash, jewelry, insurance, pre-paid funeral arrangements, etc.)

6. List of outstanding debts (with supporting materials if available)

7. Living will/advanced directives

8. Names and numbers of doctors, attorneys, accountants, etc.

The Art of Saying “No”

We’ve had several questions about how to say “no” at work. It’s usually not an easy – but almost always important task. We’d like to take a few moments to look are the reasons behind the need to say no to taking on an additional workload or task.

Why you should say no –

  1. No win situation. You simply don’t have the time/expertise/desire to deliver an outcome you can be proud.
  2. You are being manipulated. Somewhere along the line you have had a sense of obligation created. It could have been a birthday recognition, compliment or past favor. If you cannot or do not want to take on additional task for very valid reasons – decline!
  3. You have been placed in the role of “he/she who should be asked”   It’s become apparent that you are the “go to” person for the boss or supervisor to depend on for last minute tasks. Don’t like the role? Learn to say no.
  4. Time required would compromise your production.   Four words that have the ability to cause resentment and reduced production:   “Would you do me a favor?” If time permits – no problem. However, don’t grant a favor at your own expense.
  5. You simply do not want to take on the task. You may have time, you may have the expertise but you simply do not have the desire. Politically, professionally or ethically, you do not want to accept the request. Be true to yourself, you will never regret the decision.

How you should say no –

“No”

True conviction never has a problem with providing the sincerity we need to say no. Long winded explanations smack of lack of confidence. Resist the temptation to soften the decline with self-depreciation (I am weak in that area / I haven’t been in the department that long / I don’t want to let you down…) It gives the requester the opportunity to use real or manufactured flattery to change your mind.

Short term you may not generate friendships – but you will generate respect. Going forward, colleagues will appreciate your time and performance. They will know that when you take on an additional task it will be because you have the commitment, expertise and desire to deliver.

The Yin Yang of Corporate Culture – Look for Bliss Not Utopia

It’s Yin Yang – Not Utopia

When the topic is culture development in the business setting, owners, CEOs and directors often feel a sense of urgency to create a work place utopia where every employee is happy, energized and enthused every minute of every day.  That is just not reality.

Ron Friedman had a valuable piece in the Harvard Business Review in March 2015 that speaks to the realities of a successful office environment. In our practice, we sometimes talk about the quality of yin yang environment where the objective is balance more than bliss.  Friedman’s article uncovers the reasons why, when he dispels 5 myths of optimum corporate culture:

Myth 1: Everyone Is Incessantly Happy. Instead of espousing positivity at all costs, leaders are better off recognizing that top performance requires a healthy balance of positive and negative emotions. Pressuring employees to suppress negative emotions is a recipe for alienation, not engagement.

Our belief is that the office is a valuable training ground for seeking and learning balance in our lives.  America’s workforce spends more time “on site” than in the waking home environment.  Learning balance at work has the ability to teach life lessons of balance.  Our message is that life should be experienced – not endured.

Myth 2: Conflict Is RareMost workplace disagreements fall into one of two categories: relationship conflicts, which involve personality clashes or differences in values, and task conflicts, which center on how work is performed. Studies indicate that while relationship conflicts are indeed detrimental, task conflicts produce better decisions and stronger financial outcomes.

We ask employees two important questions in conflict resolution: is there a quality in your business adversary you rely on / respect, and do you see possible reasons your adversary has the noted mindset. Both questions may bring and “ah ha” reflection. If so, dialogue (that accommodates conflicting views) can produce some very stunning results!

Myth 3: Mistakes Are Few:  Paradoxically, fostering top workplace performance requires a new way of looking at failure. Instead of treating mistakes as a negative consequence to be avoided at all costs (thereby making employees reluctant to acknowledge them), organizations are better off making improvement rather than perfection a primary objective.

Careless mistakes are never excusable. But, legitimate mistakes are. More importantly, legitimate mistakes are often valuable road signs for weak areas of administration. It sounds almost counter intuitive – however sleuthing sources of problems / mistakes in a dynamic organization should be embraced.

Myth 4: They Hire for Cultural Fit. Exposing people to different viewpoints can generate more value than ensuring that they gel.

Global economies do not foster a static environment. We remember in the not so distant past when IBM prided its blue suit/white male/business educated workforce. If hiring for a cultural fit if it means adoption of a lifestyle outside your talent base you can expect corporate catastrophe. What we do suggest is that each talent is allowed their own sense of belonging – it’s that easy.

Myth 5: Their Offices Are Full of Fun Things. To thrive at work, employees don’t require luxuries. What they need are experiences that fulfill their basic, human needs.

Another question we ask employees: when did you last have fun with your work team? Oddly enough, it’s not the rope course or the corporate team rally. Pinball machines in the foyer does not make the team. We like Friedman’s focus on fulfilling basic, human needs. Foster employee successes, allow meaningful failures, recognize individuals and ……. Listen.

Thanks, Ron Friedman, Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2015/03/5-myths-of-great-workplaces

Who is Responsible?

The abandoned shopping cart…

It’s the bane of urban existence – grocery store shopping carts abandoned on your property. My partner had I had the unusual experience last week of watching two vagabonds park their “stolen” shopping cart at the edge of our property. No use asking them to take it away, they were clearly done with this conveyance and ready to leave the cart at for the next person (homeless version of ZipCar).

What would you do? What would Jesus do? And for that matter, whose problem is it anyway? This is where the interesting dialogue began in the office. Is it the store’s responsibility? (I won’t mention Sav Mor in Pueblo, Colorado). Well, actually it really isn’t. Think about it. The carts cost approximately $175-$200.00 each and it is in the grocery store’s best interest to limit their losses and protect the carts from theft. They were robbed. Granted, our four calls to the store to come pick up the cart was filed in the “when pigs fly” basket. We did get an assurance that when John came back from vacation next week, they would send him out. But the fact remains that the carts were stolen / borrowed from their store without permission. They did not place the cart on our corner.

We don’t blame the wayfarer who left the cart on our premise. It seems to be a bit of a code of travel these days. You can spot carts conveniently left at all sorts of locations (mostly from California). For those interested, we’re compiling a photo journal of end destinations for carts including river bottoms, school parking lots, churches, at the base of a monument and yes, even the inside median on a freeway. These men and women have some hard ”yakka” moving all their worldly possessions from point “a” to point “b”.

Why did the cart bother us so much? Well, I think (although my partner does not) that one picture really does tell a story and in this case, it’s a story of homelessness and vagrancy. “Not on my doorstep” says the local gentry. Well, yes, on your doorstep. We have an amazing community on the verge of a monumental socio-economic transformation. We have what Justin Holman has coined as the 4 “c”s – climate, culture, cost of living and, Colorado. (check out justinholman.com/2014/01/26/pueblo-4cs/ ). If Justin is correct, and we think he is, the community has to accept responsibility not for shopping carts, but for the attitude behind the issue.

So whose responsibility is it? I don’t have a strict answer for that, but I do have a pretty good answer, thanks to Jeanne Morse. It goes something like this. If you have an opportunity to do what is right – when no one is looking – don’t “just do it”, grab it. The end of story is that we drove our truck down to the office, put the cart in the back and returned it to the store. No fanfare, just dropped it off and put it in the cart return.

The shopping cart is just a symbol. I can hear my friends murmuring now – “if you are doing what’s right when no one is looking / reading/ listening, why did you pen this in your blog?” Good questions, and my only good answer is that sometimes we / I forget the value in doing what is right, whether it be keeping a confidence, showing a kindness to those most in need, and yes, claiming responsibility (when it probably isn’t yours) Thanks Jeanne Morse and Justin Holman. Hopefully this is a part of what is making the community different.

Corporate attitude can be a part of making your business different.  How would you have handled the shopping cart?  Let us know…..

Regulatory Compliance – Small Business’s Biggest Buzz Kill (or is it?)

When we ask clients what wins the prize for providing the most headaches, it’s almost unanimously regulatory compliance. Most comments seem to be something like: “compliance administration take the fun out of being an entrepreneur”. No matter what your business focus, governmental agencies such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, OSHA, ADA, FINRA, SEC, etc. will have an impact how you do business.

Don’t get us wrong, we are the first to recognize that regulatory administration plays a vital role in protecting consumers, the workforce and our economy. Unfortunately the task of keeping compliant is onerous – or so we thought.

Dan Heath and Chip Heath had a great piece in Fast Company a few years ago discussing how and why to make corporate training “rock”. The story introduces us to Russ Berland, a man charged with taking a company’s (BearingPoint) compliance training to a whole new level. How he did it was amazing in itself. In one weekend he directed the filming of 10 episodes of compliance 101 for his company Bearing Point.

Getting compliance training down earns kudos – but changing corporate culture hits the ball out of the park. Can you imagine taking topics that most employees ignore or misunderstand, effectively training the same group and finally promoting a closer healthier culture?

That is exactly what Berland did. By taking key topics and setting it to a series (admittedly based on the film “The Office”) BearingPoint’s compliance training became a must see. The videos tailored specifically for the company went viral and for good reason. Every office worker could identify situations and individuals in their own environment. Phrases and situations in the broadcast soon became jargon, employees eagerly awaited next Monday’s new episode. According to Dan and Chip:

“Every business has these “untouchable” issues. They make us uncomfortable, and we usually deal with our discomfort by retreating behind legalistic language. But if we really take these incidents seriously — if we’re committed to putting an end to sexual harassment or improper billing or dishonest communication — then we need to show a little bravery. Our three-ring binders won’t change a thing. But a little humor and humanity might.”

We say “bravo”. Ignorance of regulatory compliance is not an excuse – embracing regulation sets you free!

http://www.fastcompany.com/1460648/how-make-corporate-training-rock https://vimeo.com/7341316

Leadership Lessons from don Francisco

We recently received notice that the popular Latin program, Sabado Gigante will end after a successful 53 year reign.  The program was unique in the fact that its popularity spanned the 160 nations of South and Central America, Mexico and the United States.  There is no doubt the variety show with significant slap stick comedy that transcended all politics and culture was one of the leading reasons for success.  However, the star, and for the last 30 years, producer, don Francisco was the key ingredient.  His following was on both sides of the screen.

So we beg the question – what qualities does Francisco share with other performer/producers who have managed to keep the public loyal and engaged for decades?

Dan Goleman (2004) had an interesting piece in the Harvard Business Review that may shine some light on the long time success of don Francisco and others like him in the entertainment industry (see Daryl Somers – Hey Hey It’s Saturday).

Over the years, don Francisco demonstrated all five components of emotional intelligence at work: self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Rumors may dispute some hallmarks, but in truth, possessing these qualities along with a true love for his business resulted in historical success.

Thank you for your lessons in leadership, don Franciso.

https://hbr.org/2004/01/what-makes-a-leader

Trust Me, I’m your Manager

We recently spoke to a supervisor who complained that her team had no respect for the job or her authority. What made matters worse was the fact that she felt management neither cared or supported her in her duties. Generating trust and respect of management by employees in the workplace is essential for productivity, team morale, employee retention and development of a positive corporate culture. But it takes time and planning to achieve. In short – you can’t just ask for respect; trust and respect needs to be earned.

There are five never changing guides to follow by supervisors and managers in their quest to build respect and a positive corporate environment are simple. We won’t try to fool you, the hard part is commitment and follow through.

Manager’s Roadmap to Respect:

First, if you want to be respected, you need to respect others. Take time to listen with understanding. Don’t abuse your employees’ time and effort. Don’t ask an employee to perform duties that you would not do.

Second, managers truly do need to lead by example. It’s an old tried and true statement but essential for development of trust. Don’t belittle, gossip, or lie. Be completely upfront and let your team know that what you say, you believe. How you conduct yourself should never be at the expense of another. And the manner you treat others is how you, yourself would want to be treated.

Third, be open about business issues. If restructuring is on the horizon, help prepare your team. If important to the team, news, both good and bad needs to be shared truthfully with the team. You want your team to believe you when you speak.

Fourth, if you’re wrong admit it and if you don’t know, say you’ll find out. Too many times we see managers that feel they need to be right all the time. It just doesn’t happen. We’re human and make mistakes. One of the most respected traits of a good manager is the ability to correct a wrong.

Finally, if you want your team to be loyal show your loyalty to them. Don’t gossip and do not tolerate gossip. Stand up for your team members and team. Make them know their contribution is a priority in the business structure.

Set the tone for your small business or department by demonstrating good character. Avoid lying and spinning company news when under pressure. Admit when you don’t know the answer, and promise to find answers if possible.

Non-Profits and Turf Battles – How can such good people be so devious?

We’ve all seen it. Two very successful and well-meaning non-profits joined in the goal of making their community a better place to live, develop a schism, competing for precious charitable dollars. Perhaps even more detrimental is their development of similar if not identical programs that have no respect for economies of scale. Duplicate summer camps, duplicate fund raisers duplicate personnel resources.

Taken a step further, conflict arises between organizations and individuals over goals and objectives, who is more beneficial, whose donors are whose, and fund-raiser competition for precious time and dollars?

Fast Company had a great article by Robert Herbold on his book outlining the phenomenon called the Fiefdom Syndrome: The Fiefdom Syndrome: The Turf Battles That Undermine Careers and Companies — and How to Overcome Them.*

The problem begins when individuals, groups, or divisions–out of fear–seek to make themselves vital to their organizations and unconsciously or sometimes deliberately try to protect their turf or reshape their environment to gain as much control as possible over what goes on.

Herbold give the example in his experience with Proctor and Gamble when the heads of the sales organizations in the various countries eventually positioned themselves as president of the company in their respective countries. And clearly a president needs his own finance, HR, and IT personnel. Before long, they were developing their own marketing efforts, often out of sync with the overall strategic and marketing direction of Procter & Gamble’s products and services…

Subsidiaries came up with their own ways to analyze their business, methods that tended to emphasize how well they were doing. They institutionalized those new measures and used them to report on their business.

Let’s apply this to the non-profit world. We’ve mediated two cases (successfully) centered on “fiefdom” issues with non-profit agencies. Quite frankly, we’re surprised we haven’t seen more. Why do intelligent agencies build competing fiefdoms? As Herbold’s read pointed out: competition fueled by the need for survival and breakdown in communication lays fertile ground for turf wars.

Non-profits do so very much good in our communities for so many citizens. The price tag to replace these organizations by government services would be absolutely staggering. We need service organizations to keep our community safe, and functioning on an optimum level. Our message is one of hope. The CEOs of two of the organizations we worked with now have coffee every Friday morning. They readily admit that some Fridays they don’t even mention their organizations. But when they do, it tends to be problem sharing usually followed by some brainstorming. Our thought is that even those weeks without business talk, the friendship that has evolved is a more powerful business tool.

If your non-profit is fighting a critical turf battle, it may be productive to build some bridges. Coffee every Friday is a good start!

Robert Herbold. The Fiefdom Syndrome: The Turf Battles That Undermine Careers and Companies — and How to Overcome Them.   (2005)

http://www.fastcompany.com/bookclub/excerpts/0385510675.html

Non-Profits and Turf Battles – How can such good people be so devious?