Organizational Development

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Dysfunctional Boardroom Behavior – 5 Steps to Manage

A dysfunctional board of directors can cause multiple challenges for any organization.
Industry leaders, celebrities, and subject experts often make up Boards. Many of these individuals are not accustomed to having their opinions challenged. So while they may add credibility, there’re not always a mutual fit.

Dysfunction arises when:

  • Individual behaviors, cognitive biases, decision-making styles and communication styles are not in sync.
  • Decisions are inconsistent or simply not made.
  • Board members have conflicting agendas.
  • There is lack of leadership from the Chair, no mutual respect and lack of trust.
  • Individuals react inappropriately under pressure.
  • Boardroom bullies are not managed or members just sit back and watch.

A 2009 Gallup Research paper revealed a 70% productivity gain when groups of people working together understood and were able to close the behavior performance gap. This study holds true today.

Every board plays an integral role in the success of the organization. When Board members are dysfunctional and not engaged, the flow on to the organization can be significant.

5 Steps to managing boardroom behavior.

  1. Commit to being behaviorally smart in the boardroom.
  2. Use a validated natural discovery process to assess key personality traits.
  3. Use the outcomes to build a balanced relationship between all players.
  4. Appoint a highly skilled facilitator to work with individual directors to understand communication and behavioral styles.
  5. Commit to building a culture of understanding, acceptance, and respect.

Understanding different personalities can lead to better decision-making. Directors cannot fulfill their responsibilities in a boardroom where a few dysfunctional members are allowed to control the meeting or obstruct board decision-making.

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Maximizing Organizational Potential Through Learning

In his 1990 book The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge coined the term learning organization: “Organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.”

Today, building a learning culture seems to be a greater organizational requirement than ever, yet most are not prepared for their learning and development needs. PwCs 2015 Global CEO Survey of 1,409 CEOs in 83 countries found that 75% felt a skilled, educated and adaptable workforce should be a priority, but 72% were concerned about the availability of the key skills their companies needed. Furthermore, Deloittes 2015 Global Human Capital Trends, incorporating data from 3,300 business and HR leaders in 106 countries, reported that 85% thought learning was “important” or “very important”, yet only 40% were “ready” or “very ready” to build a learning culture.

How then does an organization build learning into its culture? It starts with CEO commitment. And CEOs, in turn empower CHROs and Chief Learning Officers, who become key leaders for fostering learning at all organizational levels. As Senge observed: “Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning. But without it no organizational learning occurs.”

CHROs and CLOs implement procedures, platforms and products to create an organizational learning ecosystem. The most common form of learning is “on-the-job” and generally means solving problems associated with work. Good leaders promote on-the-job learning opportunities and make time in employees schedules for them. They provide readily available tools. Research shows that “formalized informal” learning programs like on-demand training, coaching and performance support tools, including digital courses and mobile apps, outperform more “formal” learning like lectures. In this ecosystem, content, programs and experts are easily accessible to guide employees to quickly learn. Training often succeeds best in small, easy-to-use and easy to find chunks of content.

Learning is a strategic lever that can change how employees think and act. One of our clients illustrates how well this can work. Our client found that time spent in meetings was significantly reducing productivity. Meetings accounted for 40% of time at work, but 28% were deemed not really necessary, start and stop times were not well managed (55%), and the goal often not achieved (47%).

The identified problem of meeting inefficiency led to a targeted learning approach. All employees, including the CEO and division heads, learned best practices for meetings through an intranet based digital course, comprised of three 30-minute sessions. The results were dramatic, with a very significant improvement in the organizations meeting culture. More impressively, the results continued to improve and were greater a year later. Compared to pre-course levels, 45% increased their usage of agendas, 41% increased their attendance of meeting that were absolutely necessary, 38% more started and ending on time and 29% increased their achievement of meeting objectives. The culture shifted because senior management engaged with employees; they identified a problem, and addressed it through learning.

The meeting management program utilized an external expert solution. Internal sources are also critical. For example, a directory of internal “experts” enables the organization to deploy employee skills and experience in person-to-person learning. Systems can efficiently match the organizations experts with those needing expertise. Additional learning tools are made readily available, such as digital courses, apps and internal social networks. Operating procedures are designed to encourage and reward the interactions.

Measurement assures that learning resources are targeted and effective. In our meeting management example, survey data identified an efficiency waiting to happen. The learning program unleashed this opportunity. Its efficacy was measured shortly afterwards and then in a year, proving the programs value.

The U.S. military, the largest learning organization on Earth, teaches us that the best organizational and individual learning often occurs following mistakes. After every maneuver, there is an “after-action review”. This formal process made the team understand what worked, what didnt and what needed to change in order to improve.

Company-specific learning is one of the strongest contributors to employee engagement and retention, as described in a “Journal of Applied Psychology” 2013 study and related data from Deloitte University. Those companies that committed more training hours and funds per employee become more efficient and effective, delivering significantly higher customer service, innovation and alignment with business strategy. As Senge understood, when your company is a learning organization you expand your capacity to create the results you desire.

Are You Killing Productivity And Creativity

Are You Killing Productivity And Creativity?

I work with and coach many leaders and teams. Although each team is unique, there are some common themes I see as performance and productivity blockages.

Are you suffering from one of these?

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1. You have to be good at everything. There are many smart, good people I talk with, who can’t admit that they aren’t perfect, or still believe they should be. Perfection is outdated and unattainable. Trying to be good at everything should be too. Plus, it will only highlight and put focus on tasks and skills where you are NOT so good. As a leader, stop expecting people to be good at everything. For example, few people walk the earth who are great at being both detail/task-oriented and engaging with people. Consider realigning tasks to people based upon their natural strengths. In the end, the team will get more done with less stress.

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2. Your way is the best way. If everyone was like you, your value would be diminished and the team would suffer from a huge blind spot. Instead, focus more on the goal and you’ll realize that the team will accomplish more. You’ll also look smarter and increase your influence by being able to see your teammates as valuable assets, even if they think and act differently, than your way of operating.

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3. You’re constantly aware of teammate’s imperfections and wish they would change their ways. Stop thinking that the other person is who needs to change. You can positively influence behavior by trying to understand the other person’s point of view, their strengths and how they are motivated.

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Want to learn more about how to identify and capitalize on the different strengths of your team members? Check out our Business DNA Website or contact us at inquires@dnabehavior.com.

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Who’s Currently Atlanta’s Greatest Business Leader?

There are not many business leaders out there who are truly great – leaders that inspire, you can look up to, and immediately trust.

It is not easy to discover your purpose in life, and then, at all times, live it. Today, I was fortunate to meet Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-fil-A, an iconic Georgia headquartered business. I fully admire Dan because for his defined life of meaning, and who lives it authentically, every day – a rarity in our age. Not just lip service; he lives it in a very real way.

Dan Cathy

When asked how Dan defines success, his response was, “being the best you can be as a person.” He continued by articulating how every aspect of what he does is measurable, whether it is from how Chick-fil-A is run, to community giving, his family and health. To lead others successfully not only do you emotionally engage them but you must be centered and balanced yourself. This is very important in order for others to trust you. So many leaders fail because they live in a falsehood and are not trustworthy.
A key dimension I see in Dan is his commitment to the development of Atlanta’s community, particularly the Westside area. While central to Atlanta, it is one of the poorest. And while there is a celebration of the great wealth being created in Atlanta, Dan is determined to use it to remove social inequity. The development of the Westside area will be a symbol of this change. Otherwise, Atlanta could become more like a Baltimore.

I have learned my leadership lessons from Lee Ellis, another great Atlanta leader in the same level of authenticity as Dan Cathy. The principles I look for in a leader I learned by reading Lee’s book “Leading with Honor“.

Lee Ellis

I would be interested in your views of great leaders anywhere in the world and why.

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Investment Committees through the Behavioral Intelligence Lens

Most investment committees have a very clear mission: Serve as stewards for assets of the organization they represent.

Recruiting the right people to do that is critical to the success of the Investment Committee. But how do we define “right”? Is it a professional background? Education? Investment knowledge? And where does the diversity lens come in, if at all? What about their inherent risk-tolerance and behavioral biases toward investments?

In a study by Vanguard’s Vanguard Investment Counseling & Research on Group Decision Making for Investment Committees, there are definitely biases (both investment behavioral biases and workplace behavioral style differences) that should be considered when forming a committee with such important responsibilities in an organization.

Group Decision Making for Investment Committees Source: Vanguard Research

Most investment committees focus on five critical decision-making areas:

  1. Establishing goals or objectives for the investment portfolio they are managing.
  2. Setting an investment policy-on everything from strategic asset allocation to rebalancing policy to performance metrics.
  3. Selecting managers to implement the portfolio’s investment policy.
  4. Evaluating short- and long-term investment performance-both for the portfolio and for individual managers.
  5. Selecting experts (e.g., a consultant) to guide the committee as necessary.

As you think about how your committee recruits and selects new members, are you making the most of the opportunity to broaden the search to include those who would bring a diverse and beneficial perspective to the group?

As the research shows, this can lead to a more effective team and, in turn, a better outcome for the committee’s main mission.

Using a Behavioral Finance approach can shed light on the risk-tolerance and behavioral bias of the Investment Committee Members who may possibly be more wired for a Newness Bias or the More Anchored Bias. There are several behavioral biases that can either create conflict for the Investment Committee or potentially a group-think bias that could create risk for the firm.

In selecting an expert to guide the committee as indicated in bullet point 5 – Selecting an Expert, using a behavioral discovery process can add a dimension of behavioral diversity to the important function of the Investment Committee by ensuring the group can function collaboratively and effectively while also preventing “Group think.” Find out more on using Behavioral Intelligence and how to recruit the right behavioral fit for this important role in the organization.

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Millennial Stereotype Backlash

Millennials number 83.1 million and represent more than one-quarter of the nation’s population. Source: 2015 U.S. Census Bureau.

Millennials have been variously described as enthusiastic, adaptable, entrepreneurial and skilled multitaskers – and as lazy, entitled and unmanageable job hoppers. What seems to have escaped the modern media machine in its zeal to define this influential generation is that they don’t appreciate being shoehorned and typecast. Particularly when it comes to the thing employers have come to count on them for facilitating technology’s integration into the workplace. They’re beginning to abhor working in a virtual vacuum. SOURCE: Chris Plummer in Ozy.

There are all sorts of ramifications to thinking that the Millennial generation is markedly different from every generation that has gone before them. Nothing could be further from the truth. The way they do life, their preferred social and living settings, their skills, attitudes and environment may be different, but the key is that people’s inherent behavior and talents are hard-wired. They remain the same regardless of generation.

In their report, “The Millennial Consumer Debunking Stereotypes,” the Boston Consulting Group highlights the following:

Not your typical Millennial: Disparate Personalities US Millennials are by no means homogeneous .understanding and recognizing these distinct segments and their nuances is essential for companies that hope to develop effective product offerings, marketing campaigns, channel strategies, and messaging. A one size fits all effort will fail to connect with every millennial segment.SOURCE

To support this thought, BCG offers the following graph and shows the segments into which they have placed millennials according to their responses to their survey.

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These responses go some way to revealing behaviors that demonstrate millennials are not and cannot be standardized.

Don’t just hire and manage Millennials – lead them. If ever a generation could benefit from the wisdom held by older generations it’s this one. This relationship, if handled well, could significantly change the way we do business. We have so much to learn from each other. Take position out of the equation and build great relationships and teams. Mix the generations. The only difference between your Millennial employees and the older ones is their digital proficiency. They don’t know anything different.

To Millennials, it’s normal to use mobile and social technologies. Where else would you go to access data, find out the latest ideas and trends, build networks, and share experiences.

Fundamentally, generations never change. They are born with inherent behaviors. A person’s natural instinctive behaviors are hard-wired into the brain based on genetics and their very early life experiences in the first 3 years of life. Research shows the neural pathways in the brain become substantially set by the time a person is 3 years old, and this is when their natural instinctive style is set. Of course, a person’s behavior in particular circumstances may change or be adapted based on experiences, education, values, and circumstances. However, such temporary behavioral shifts will be based on situational modification and are not hard-wired.

The generations are not so different:

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The Millennials are no different to any other grouping. If you want to attract them, focus on getting to know them and understanding what drives their decision-making. The vehicle they use to do business is inevitably going to change, but the essence of who they are and how they want to be treated will be no different from any other group.

Says TIME writer, Joel Stein, “millennials are just adapting quickly to a world undergoing rapid technological change they’re optimistic, they’re confident, and they’re pragmatic at a time when it can be difficult just to get by.” Source

Don’t shy away from hiring Millennials. Don’t be persuaded by negative press.

  • Some are positive and confident and know they can take on the world.
  • Others seek structure and look to leadership to provide a clear vision.
  • Still more want to be taken seriously and have a chance to share their thoughts and ideas.
  • Many want to be part of a team, but many others prefer to work alone.

How, I wonder, is that so very different from past and present work environments in which we see ourselves? Well, the truth is, it isn’t. The key is to reveal and understand inherent hard-wired behaviors. This insight will deliver a fundamental shift in thinking and enable organizations to focus on the relationship management across generations. In addition, this approach will deliver understanding into how businesses can “know, engage and grow” their clients and customers to provide customized life-long experiences that increase sustainable performance.

Millennials represent the first wave of digital natives to enter the workforce, and this does distinguish them. Organizations that have embarked on their own transformation urgently need this digital capital. They should eagerly look for ways to embrace Millennials and create the work environments where top talent can flourish across all generations. This will require nuanced strategies that reflect the reality of a multigenerational workforce: employees of all ages are complex individuals working in an environment that’s becoming more virtual, more diverse and more volatile by the day. SOURCE: Myths, exaggerations, and uncomfortable truths. The real story behind Millennials in the workplace IBM Institute for Business Value. Source

As a baby boomer, I say let’s embrace Millennials. They keep us up-to-date on anything happening in the world. They have opinions about our nation and the world. Let’s get to know them in a way that uncovers the treasure trove of talents they have. Let’s begin by accepting that every person, regardless of age, has hard-wired inherent behaviors all of which have a place in building a successful business.

To better understand each person’s unique Natural Behavior talents and how to maximize their value to your business, contact inquiries@dnabehavior.com for a free trial.