Business Planning

Leadership Decision-Making Through Intuition

As a leader you are faced with making difficult decisions every day. Often these decisions are complex with many factors to be considered. Hopefully, you will make many more right decisions than bad ones. Following your intuition is important. More often than not your gut feel is right. Nevertheless, it is also important to have the right decision making framework and not allow over analysis to get in the way.leadership development, leadership business, decision-making

Shelley Row, a strategic partner of DNA Behavior has written a great article on Leadership Decision Theory that addresses this point. Please refer to the 4 Styles of Decision-making, or contact Shelley at shelley@shelleyrow.com

The key to successfully using your intuition is firstly to know you have it and when it is working. You should not be afraid of it but also not be blind to its operation and such not be listening to it properly.? In my experience, the starting point to getting in touch with your intuition is to know who you are at the core and from there recognize your instinctive decision-making style. Then, with that self-knowledge having the capacity to manage your behavior particularly when your emotions are triggered.

Ultimately, it gets down to having trust in yourself. If you want to build more trust in yourself and have greater confidence in your decision-making start by learning your Natural DNA Behavior Style.

To learn more about discovering your decision-making style and how you are performing, please email us at inquiries@dnabehavior.com

What Makes a Great Boss?

The ability of a leader to engage their team is a hot topic these days. The pressure of getting results can often make it difficult to do. Further, typically, many of the people in leadership positions are naturally results oriented people in their behavioral style. You do not see as many leaders who are naturally relationship oriented.

So, the key is how do the results oriented leaders adapt and engage their team on a relationship basis?

What Makes a Great BossA key to this is that the leader firstly understands their own strengths and struggles, and then knows the same of their team members. The team members need to feel understood and be managed uniquely, which means the leader has to adapt. This is what provides the more customized work place experience. The team will then feel appreciated and connected with.

However, there are many more things leaders have to do to in terms of their approach to leadership beyond behavioral awareness. Although, a behaviorally aware leader will more naturally be able to manage his or her team respectfully and meaningfully.

The following article in Inc magazine provides a great list of 10 things bosses can do to engage their employees once they have behavioral awareness – Click Here to Read the article.

The ability of a leader to engage their team is a hot topic these days. The pressure of getting results can often make it difficult to do. Further, typically, many of the people in leadership positions are naturally results oriented people in their behavioral style. You do not see as many leaders who are naturally relationship oriented.

So, the key is how do the results oriented leaders adapt and engage their team on a relationship basis?

A key to this is that the leader firstly understands their own strengths and struggles, and then knows the same of their team members. The team members need to feel understood and be managed uniquely, which means the leader has to adapt. This is what provides the more customized work place experience. The team will then feel appreciated and connected with.

However, there are many more things leaders have to do to in terms of their approach to leadership beyond behavioral awareness. Although, a behaviorally aware leader will more naturally be able to manage his or her team respectfully and meaningfully.

The following article in Inc magazine provides a great list of 10 things bosses can do to engage their employees once they have behavioral awareness: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/10-things-extraordinary-bosses-do-for-their-employees.html#!

The ability of a leader to engage their team is a hot topic these days. The pressure of getting results can often make it difficult to do. Further, typically, many of the people in leadership positions are naturally results oriented people in their behavioral style. You do not see as many leaders who are naturally relationship oriented.

So, the key is how do the results oriented leaders adapt and engage their team on a relationship basis?

A key to this is that the leader firstly understands their own strengths and struggles, and then knows the same of their team members. The team members need to feel understood and be managed uniquely, which means the leader has to adapt. This is what provides the more customized work place experience. The team will then feel appreciated and connected with.

However, there are many more things leaders have to do to in terms of their approach to leadership beyond behavioral awareness. Although, a behaviorally aware leader will more naturally be able to manage his or her team respectfully and meaningfully.

The following article in Inc magazine provides a great list of 10 things bosses can do to engage their employees once they have behavioral awareness – Click here to read the article.

Developing Unrealized Potential in Your Staff

I remember attending a workshop for managers presented by Stephen Covey when he asked the question “At what level are your staff resources being utilized?” He directed people to raise their hands if it was 95%, 80% and so on. Sadly, of the 800 plus people in attendance, very few could claim any substantial use of these resources. Covey made his point. It emphasized to me that really no-one (statistically speaking) believes that they are exploiting (in the good sense) the talents and possible contributions of their people. The tragedy here is that this is a lose-lose situation. People long to be a part of something that is significant, and companies want highly performing teams that produce results. This combination is not so common. I left wondering if it were really possible to attain such a lofty goal.

My study of the humanities over the years has convinced me that it is possible, when we both understand and know how to truly incent human beings, and actually put it into practice. The principles are actually very simple, yet it’s hard to obtain. Why? It’s because truth is apparent, but it’s not intuitive. I liken the task to be somewhat similar to training a Golden Retriever. When training a dog, you have to use positive incentives and stimulus that reinforces good behavior. If you want him to sit by the door and use your back yard for his bathroom, it will not help to beat him with a rolled up newspaper until he gets it right. One has to be patient, use treats and encouragement, to convert the animal into man’s best friend. People are much the same-they do not respond to, or appreciate being shamed, guilted or punished to perform well. If we can see clearly how it works in the animal world, then why is it so hard to do with humans?

The fact is, there are some professional practices and techniques that really work. After we adopted Bailey, our Golden Retriever, I took him to an obedience class and learned from the experts how to turn this beast into one of the most obedient and pleasant household pets. I could not have done it on my own. What I was taught made sense, but actually putting the principles into practice was tough.

To truly develop the unrealized potential of our staff, we must, as managers, use the following incentives:

  • Make them think. We call them out through discovery-based probing, by asking questions of them rather than giving them answers. It’s just like a college test. If we know we have to pass the test to graduate, we will study the material. No test I’ve ever taken began by giving me the answers. Telling bosses must convert their knowledge base into curious questioning that makes the staff member think. Once the manager finds good thinking, he must give that person a reward. It’s called encouragement.
  • Create a career path. True delegation is a staff development system. We should delegate primarily to develop the unrealized potential in our staff, versus working to just get stuff off our plates. The best way to do this is to employ levels of freedom for tasks we want to transition, then use the questioning process above to cultivate good judgment in them, which will translate into good decisions through repetition. Using a professional roles and responsibilities process works like a charm.
  • Provide stretch assignments. Using the battery of wholesome human incentives, as in athletic training, we build muscle and competency at one level, then “push” them to go further. When I first started to run as a way to stay healthy, I never imagined I could actually complete a marathon. Twenty two races later, I’ve learned to love the 26.2 course, and find it somewhat normal. We can all do much more than we think we can. We need a good coach (professional manager) to believe in us and encourage us along the way. It’s a process of cultivation that involves patience, time, and hard work. Only, they (our staff) have to do the hard work-the thinking, making judgments and the actual performing.

As mentioned above, to grow in academic prowess, as students we are provided materials (classroom training and books), but when it comes to applying that knowledge, we face tests. To review: the “tests” we provide our staff are in managerial questioning in the delegation and stretch request process-it develops unrealized potential. To short circuit that process, frustrate both boss and employee, and with shame hide rather than raise our hand at the next Stephen Covey like management seminar, just be a telling boss. High performing teams are cultivated over time; it’s a process that involves professional management skills and techniques focused on known human incentives. Does it make sense? Yes. Is it easy? No.

Coaching questions: Where might you being employing the “newspaper” therapy with your staff? How might you better incent them to be happy, loyal, performing employees? Write your answers in your journal.

Read more coaching principles from Dean Harbry on the Internal Innovations website.

Using an Enterprise Behavioral Program to develop Operational Insights

People problems within multi-function corporate teams are often the result of a lack of Interpersonal Operational Insights based on behavioral assessments. business operations strategy, business dna, dna behavior, arete global consulting

While executives have a multitude of metrics and bench-marked data to run other aspects of their businesses, they generally lack the ability to measure and track behavioral aspects of their organizations that are clearly critical to success.

The implementation of an Enterprise Behavioral Program will allow organizations to internally enhance their hiring expertise, goal collaboration, executive coaching, leadership development, career management, interpersonal conflict resolution and develop customer and vendor insights to improve performance.

Learn how Arete Global Consulting is helping organizations succeed with behavioral assessments through their Enterprise Behavioral Program.

Management Principle: Innovation in the Workplace

Business leaders know and believe that innovation is the secret sauce for company growth. It inspires product development, facilitates strong employee satisfaction, drives efficiencies and provides a sound culture making it desirable for one to work and invest their time and talent. Yet, the greatest impediment to innovation is the organizational leader and the resulting culture. No-one would intentionally thwart other’s contributions, but most organizational leaders unknowingly extinguish the flames of creativity through amateur managerial practices.http://dnabehavior.com/images/stories/img_1.jpg

Imagine telling an artist what she must paint, and exactly how it should be done. What if, when putting paint on her brush, she’s directed on how to make each stroke and then corrected when she paints in a style or direction that’s unconventional? What’s the likelihood that the end product will be a true masterpiece of great value? Too many cooks in the kitchen. One may be able to sell such a picture in the marketplace, but it’s not likely it will ever make it to the Louvre. For an artist to truly innovate, she must be free to use her own imagination, while connecting the thoughts and images in her mind, and in her surroundings, to the brush that’s in her hand.

It’s true that effective leadership requires a level of control, but there are wholesome and unwholesome ways to govern-ones that inspire and promote individual contribution and creativity, and others that strike a deadly blow to the heart of innovation.? Consider the following principles to create a sanctuary for innovation in the workplace:

The first and most important principle is to stop doing other’s thinking for them. It’s impossible to cultivate innovation under the direction of a micromanager. Micromanagement is a corporate evil that robs others of originality and creativity, and ultimately truncates managerial leverage. From a human incentive standpoint, those who are denied the opportunity to use their own faculties to create and innovate will lose heart, bringing employee engagement to a grinding halt. People will retreat to vicious compliance–a condition where one turns off his or her own judgment and does exactly what the boss says, even though there are known negative consequences. The best source of good judgment in decision-making usually comes from those who are closest to the work. In contrast, professional managers lead with discovery-based questions rather than simply telling people what to do. They maintain control by assigning discreet levels of freedom.

Second, innovation has to be minded out of staff members which can only occur in a safe environment. Professional managerial leaders provide laboratories for their people to experiment and refine their thinking. They will look at mistakes as opportunities for learning rather than sins to avoid. New ideas must be treated with deliberate and intense curiosity rather than viewing them as anomalies to current conventions or norms. Yet, this way of “seeing” is very different than the ordinary, corporate way of life. Absent this foundational view, innovation is unlikely, leaving us to some form of process improvement that helps us to get better, but never allows us to be great.

Professional principles and techniques are rarely intuitive in nature, even though they make sense in the mind. Converting beliefs to actual behaviors is the hallmark of a true professional, yet few make this leap. Here’s how you can tell, at a quick glance, if your organization is poised for innovation.

Are your people happy, and do they love working at your firm?

Are new ideas welcomed and celebrated, even if they go against conventional norms?

Do you celebrate advances in innovations and truly incentivize people to take risks?

Is curiosity (the opposite of being judgmental) an operating, cultural value?

When things go wrong, do you work to solve problems or resort to finding culprits?

Coaching questions: How would you rate yourself at promoting innovation? What steps can you take to improve, maximizing human incentives, to foster needed creativity? Write your answers in your journal.

Read more coaching principles from Dean Harbry on the Internal Innovations website.

Management Principle: Thinking and Staff Development

In today’s world we’re not really encouraged to think, and by that I mean to wrestle long and hard over issues that involve different mindsets, considering tradeoffs, and then arriving at specific well thought out conclusions. Rather, we are asked to adopt and accept certain belief systems and simply conform. Since Pavlov’s famous experiment with man’s best friend, humanity has become the target of social conditioning, where like food shopping, we pick our favorite brand off the shelf–a concoction that if we could only see how it was made, we would likely decide to raise it and cook it ourselves. As the late Dr. Glenn Martin, professor at Indiana Wesleyan University would say, “Ideas have consequences.” What this means for organizational leaders is that developing today’s staff will present a very different challenge compared to other eras. Applying time-tested professional techniques are going to feel foreign, strange and even unsettling, particularly with the emerging generation.

Thinking and Staff Development, business planning, business management, employee engagementIf we want to effectively mentor and develop others then we must get them to think. Why? Good thinking yields good judgment; good judgment yields good decision-making; good decision-making yields win-win scenarios for all parties involved. It produces an owner mindset if we are careful to create a culture that supports risk-taking and innovation. Yet in juxtaposition to thinking cultures are many of today’s business environments, where we’ve followed the same protocol as the rest of society, engaging in telling platforms, communicating conformity rather than encouraging the originality and creativity that come from contemplation and having our conclusions tested by the questions and thinking of others.

If we really want to develop staff into people that can ultimately take our place, we have to engage in a more radical approach. I remember becoming aware of this truth when my boss walked into my office one day as I was standing in front of my window, staring at the outside world. He snuck up behind me and said in a pronounced voice, “Caught you!” I was so embarrassed–I knew I wasn’t really “working.” I’ll never forget his next statement… “I caught you thinking, and just so you know, that’s what I pay you to do.” He then walked out. This boss of mine is the reason I am who I am today, thanks to his ability to know the right and professional thing to do to make me a better man and a more professional manager.

Below are some keys steps to develop thinking in your staff:

  • Ask Questions. A professional manager will ask discovery-based questions rather than provide answers when employees approach them with problem-solving needs. This can feel uncomfortable for staff, since it exposes their current (and usually inadequate) thinking and makes them feel vulnerable. A safe culture is a prerequisite. In school, when taking tests, we are presented with questions for which we must provide answers. We study because we know we are going to be asked difficult questions. And if we’ve studied hard enough, we’ll give the right answer. Telling bosses stunt the growth and development of their staff.
  • Next Steps. To ensure an employee fully owns their job, all next steps must be placed on them. If we say to our staff, “Let me think it over and I’ll get back with you,” we’ve stumbled in our professional role. What we are really saying when this happens is, “I don’t trust your thinking, so I’m going to use my thinking until I come up with the right answer.” One of the key principles when training a soldier how to shoot is to keep the instructor’s finger off the trigger. If we hope to increase our employees’ competency over time, we need to push the thinking down, keep the problem-solving on them, and avoid doing their work.
  • Insure Decision-making. It would be a disaster if, by only asking questions and assigning next steps, our employees went out like the old cartoon character Tennessee Tuxedo and acted on their half-baked ideas. We’d spend much of our time accounting to our boss, making excuses for the actions of our employees and our inability to lead. This is why I like Bill Oncken’s Freedom Scale. Depending on our anxiety level, there are certain levels of freedom we assign to employee decisions to insure sound actions. If we don’t like their ideas, rather than give them the answer, we find the next best question to ask to help them see the bigger picture.

I know what you are thinking. All this sounds great but it takes too much time. And, time it does take. But, like a good financial investment, it means delaying current gratification for long-term gain. The truth is, for a telling boss, he or she will spend most of their time answering the same questions over and over again, which is a waste of time. By applying these principles on the front end of staff development, we’ll produce people who will ultimately think and judge the same way we do. If you want your staff to improve in their judgments and decision-making, then you must cultivate your thinking in them. This same process works well with teenage children, by the way.

Coaching questions: When your employees seek your direction or some version of problem-solving, how do you usually respond? How can you take steps to make sure your thinking is being developed in them, so that they can ultimately replace you in a succession process? Write your answers in your journal.

Read more coaching principles from Dean Harbry on the Internal Innovations website.