Hiring / Recruitment

Management Principle: Misfits

In today’s work environments where staff members are promoted to managers and leaders because they were really good at their craft, we oftentimes miss the most important ingredient as to whether they can truly be successful in their new role. Do they really understand how to manage and motivate people? If the answer is “no,” then they may not be ready for the assignment. I hope you like today’s principle on misfits.

DNA Advisor Performance

Misfits. As organizational leaders, we observe people that are difficult to work with and conclude that we have “the wrong people on the bus.” And while that’s always a possibility, it’s not likely that this condition exists to the degree it’s claimed. If we match a person’s assessment results with job requirements, and complete the Human Resource vetting process, it’s more likely that there are other factors at play. Rather than punt and change out team members, professional leaders will discern the staff member’s needs and then methodically manage to cultivate for the right results. The process starts by understanding the strengths and struggles of human nature, and, by being familiar with the many different personality profiles. Effective leaders will then match the styles of their employees which yields genuine influence. Applying proper human incentive systems will cause a staff member to grow and take full responsibility for their domains with improved judgment and insight. Successful executives are those with the patience and determination to develop those who work under their care, converting misfits to champions.

Coaching questions: How many among your staff would you say are misfits? How can you more fully cultivate their behaviors to produce organizational champions?

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

Management Principle: Developing Others

Once again I assert that to be a professional manager one has to deviate from normal human behavior to do the right thing. Expecting others to “get it” by telling them what to do is extremely ineffective. However, learning how to skillfully ask the right question, and in a way that promotes thinking, is the most helpful and caring way to assist another person. I hope you like this week’s management principle.

Performance management, build relatonships, improve communication, strengths and struggles, human potential

Developing Others. The two questions I love to ask are: “Who likes to be told what to do?” and, “Whose thinking do you like best?” The unequivocal answers are “No-one,” and “My own!” This human condition creates a problem in the management process. The dilemma–how do we provide guidance and instruction for our staff in a way that they will adopt, favor and own the input? It’s guaranteed that if you are a telling boss, people will resist you. If you are a suggesting boss, they won’t respect or take you seriously. Those with true professional management skills know how to make people “think it” long before they have to say it. It’s a process of developing others through learner-based questions in a spirit of discovery. The amateur will say it takes too much time, but they will waste time and emotional energy by answering the same questions over and over again. Changing people won’t cure the problem-it’s an issue of management style. Good questions promote dialog, while bad questions tend to be interrogative in nature and shut down debate.

Coaching questions: How often do you use discovery-based questions to develop your staff? How can you improve?

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

Management Principle: Human Incentive Systems

I hope your new year is off to a great start as we are all busy implementing new strategies and tactics. Collaboration, knowledge sharing, and teamwork are more critical than ever due to constrained resources. The difference between a good company and a great one is its people–providing the right human incentive systems is what ultimately creates a great company. I hope you enjoy this week’s principle.Human Incentive Systems

Human Incentive Systems. Professional leaders and managers thrive on large-scale initiatives that are carefully planned and well executed. To achieve anything of scale, we must leverage the thinking and output of others. Some mistakenly believe that if people are paid fairly, they will be motivated to do good work. Research suggests that pay will only guarantee an employee will show up for work. To motivate them to perform at higher levels, we must utilize a battery of human incentive systems that are nonfinancial in nature. Professional managers both understand and embrace this dynamic, and work successfully with diverse people using the human touch. They build strong managerial relationships, support their staff with discovery questioning to develop their thinking and judgment, and, even when correction is necessary, they do it in the employee’s best interest without getting emotionally hooked. While they are hard on principle they are typically soft on people–caring, but not sentimental–firm, but not harsh. Treating people as valued human beings ensures the best possible results.

Coaching questions: What non-financial human incentive systems do you currently have in place that builds staff loyalty and increases productivity? What could be done to go to the next level?

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

Business Transformation

In recent weeks we have strongly focused our messaging around “business transformation”. In particular, the need to address the client experience that is being provided in order to transform. So often, leaders regularly talk about getting the right people on board, developing the team and the leadership, having the right product, focusing the business plan, improving execution etc. These are all important dimensions; however, they are not all of it.

The key to business transformation is increasing the level of engagement of both your clients and employees. This is regardless of what business you are in or the nature of the service being provided. In 2009, there was some very compelling Gallup Research supporting this approach. This is illustrated by the graph below and the following key points:

(Click Graph to Expand)

When we interview businesses, so many readily admit they know less than 20% about their client. What would happen if they knew more than 50% about their clients? So, from an implementation perspective we believe it is key to know more about your clients. Then deliver a client centered experience by aligning your products and services to the client and then having employees who are client focused. This transformation in the alignment of your clients, employees and products can be achieved through predictive DNA behavioral insights. This is the fundamental purpose of our DNA Behavior Marketing system and Business DNA programs.

Effective Board Behavior

In recent months I have written a few blogs about corporate governance and business risk management. I have expressed the view that many of the corporate problems we have today are related to ineffective board governance. It has been interesting being in Europe for the past 2 weeks where this subject has come up in many discussions with business leaders and in the press. Clearly, the topic of corporate governance is high on the agenda. It needs to be because this is the source of so much corporate damage.

The 2 business problems related to corporate governance getting mentioned the most are executive remuneration and then acquisitions. In both of these areas, executives have allowed their own greed to take over at the expense of the company. This is where the business leaders have really lost sight. The key point then is that the Boards have been too weak to stop them. This gets back to the structure of the board, in particular separation of chairman and CEO/President, majority of non-executives, minimal conflicts of interest and then importantly the right mix of non-executives who have the right behavioral styles to oversee the executives.

Remuneration is a hot topic because it is visible and generally reported in some way by public companies. However, acquisitions are a major issue because of the high potential for destruction. Of course, there are executive remuneration motivations by expanding the company. How many acquisitions really work? Not many and there are plenty of stats to show that. Although, some do. The business integration and financing issues are very difficult. From a governance perspective how much are the boards really looking through these transactions? To what degree has management pushed them through? What is the DNA of the leaders? What is motivating them?

As we move through these turbulent times I hope that more companies will start to look at their board behavior and make changes. This is the first step to true leadership development. Investors also need to look at these issues when making long-term investment decisions.

Identifying the Human Behavior Risks in Your Business

Back in March of this year, I wrote a blog about managing the human risks in your business. This issue has not gone off the radar screen. Identifying the human behavior risks in your business is critical to success. Every person has natural “blind-spots” which, if they go unchecked, can lead to individual performance failures, team failures, leadership failures and ultimately significant business problems. Regardless of the size of your business, the behavior of your people will influence the result. The influence will be higher the more senior the person is in the business. Look at why some major companies have failed in recent years – it is not the poor economy or financial markets, rather they have exposed the fundamental issues, particularly the behavior of leaders.

Some of the blind-spots may not seem that bad – e.g. uncomfortable to confront a problem, lack of patience, emotional decision-maker, poor planner, too driven and so on. However, these problems easily compound themselves at the individual level, then escalate when combined with others blind-spots.

Do you know where the blind-spots in your business are?

We have recently launched the Business Risk Management Report from our Business DNA profile which specifically identifies these risks. Please click here for an example.