Organizational Development

Skyline-Atlanta-GA

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.

Millennial Stereotype Backlash2

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.

Business blog

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:

Business blog2

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.

Culture Clashes Kill Mergers Batch 2

Culture Clashes Kill Mergers

Culture is the set of norms, behaviors, values, beliefs, and interaction parameters shared among a group of people.

When evaluating a merger or other significant re-organization, most leaders tend to focus primarily on more tangible items like headcount, savings, systems, processes and tasks. Very little time is spent on identifying and proactively planning to overcome key barriers like people’s natural behavior, motivations and ability or willingness to change.

In a Bain survey of executives who have managed through mergers, [culture] was the No. 1 reason for a deal’s failure to achieve the promised value.

Because culture and behavior are considered “soft” skills, results- and task-oriented leaders discount or don’t know how to deal with this area of a merger. But there are very real bottom line impacts to ignoring these realities. One of the most famous examples is the failed merger of Mercedes Benz and Chrysler. In 2007, after 9 years, the companies admitted it wasn’t working and took an estimated $29 billion loss.

There are those who say the merger, which faced significant cultural differences, was doomed from the start.Chicago Tribune

You had two companies from different countries with different languages and different styles come together yet there were no synergies. said Dave Healy, analyst with Burnham Securities, referring to the then-Daimler-Benz chairman and why the merger failed.

How do you measure and use “culture” to make a merger successful?

Most people tend to look to the culture’s published values on a company’s website, or do some form of formal or informal employee survey. However, those are very subjective. They really reflect what they want to be. Or employees say what think they “should” say or maybe they have an axe to grind. They may be unsure how it is going to be used. These methods also do nothing to help you to know what to do with this information.

Culture is the glue that binds an organization together and it’s the hardest thing for competitors to copy. As a result, it can be a lasting source of competitive advantage.

Culture is more than just a unique identity, however. The best performing companies typically display a set of performance attributes that align with the company’s strategy and reinforce the right employee behaviors. Harvard Business Review

Using Behavioral Science to “Quantify” Behaviors and Your Company Culture:

What if you had a solution that, with 91% accuracy, could quantify the predominant natural behaviors of the team or company as a whole? If you are about to make significant changes to a team/organization and you find out that the main strengths of the team are Planned and Anchored, how you would go about planning and communicating change to this team would need to be completely different than if the team were Spontaneous and Creative.

Norms of behavior: ways of acting that persist because they are rewarded and the group teaches these behaviors to new people, sanctioning those who do not conform.

Pronouncements that we must change our culture either will be denied or cause levels of anxiety that trigger intense resistance to change. Therefore, you will fail if you take culture head on.

Professor Edgar Schein, Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus, MIT

Behavioral intelligence can also tell you how to motivate or reassure individuals and the team. Not everyone is motivated just by their paycheck. Understanding individual and team natural behaviors will dramatically increase your ability to successfully implement change.

It is easier to build up the strengths of a culture than to change dysfunctional elements

      • Option 1: Actively work towards the desired attributes
      • Option 2: Passively allow it to develop unmanaged, and live with all the attendant risks

Culture is the end result.

Professor John Kotter, Harvard Business School, Harvard University

Don’t go blindly into your next merger or reorganization. Unlock the power of behavioral intelligence to help you significantly increase your success and bottom line.

When should an Entrepreneur hire Operational leaders-

When Should an Entrepreneur Hire Operational Leaders?

It takes a very unique individual to become a successful entrepreneur. They have to understand the current marketplace, identify (or create) an unfulfilled need, develop a product or service that people want, know how to market and sell it and successfully deliver it to achieve a satisfied customer. Often, they start with just themselves or a couple of people. They have to do and be everything. They have to be hard-working, anticipate issues, and able to adjust to changing dynamics quickly.

Not only have we worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, but our President, Hugh Massie, is one. While every person is unique, we have noticed there is a distinct trend of very strong natural behaviors traits that we consistently see in entrepreneurs: Take-Charge, Fast-Paced, Spontaneous, Pioneering, Risk-Taking, and Creative. They are natural Initiators, authoritative, Influencers, results-oriented, adaptable, very driven and resourceful.

Once an Entrepreneur starts to grow and hire people, the dynamics of their organization change. Now instead of doing it themselves, they have to rely on other people. They have to become managers and, hopefully, leaders. Many entrepreneurs struggle with this and in taking their business to the next sales and organizational level simply because some of their natural strengths that made them so successful, may need to be adapted to working with a team of different personalities who have different strengths. When these entrepreneurs don’t adapt, they can stifle the organization’s success. They can struggle with not listening to their team, being impatient, dominating, creating consistency or developing the right amount of structure and organization. They need to learn to lead instead of manage and dominate.

Can they do it? Yes, but it will not be easy. The stronger those natural strengths are, the harder it will be to adapt.

  • They have to first take an inventory of what their natural gifts are…and what they aren’t.
  • They have to learn how to strategically hire people that complement their strengths by being naturally good where they themselves struggle.
  • Then they have to figure out how to relinquish some control while still remaining very informed and involved in the direction of the company.
  • They have to learn how motivate, and not accidentally de-motivate, the team.

Behavioral awareness can be key to growth. Your leadership style will either help or hurt you, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.
Take the first step in learning your entrepreneurial natural behavior strengths and struggles by completing the Natural Behavior Discovery.

Should I waste my time on team development with behavioral assessments?

Should I Waste My Time on Team Development with Behavioral Assessments?

Most people who have worked in the corporate environment have taken a behavioral assessment, or 2 or 4, or participated in some form of team or leadership development. Sometimes, I hear from leaders that they aren’t sure how to guarantee the exercise provides long-term, bottom-line value. Or I hear from participants, this is great, but I am not clear on what to do with this information. As a former Corporate Leader and a consultant who facilitates these types of exercises and discussions, we have found most people go through the following phases of development:

KNOW

Most people and consultants are aware of the common phrase “the first step is awareness.” But a good number of people think that means just learning the “lingo” of the particular assessment or methodology and what their “type” is. We encourage the leader, team and participants to honestly evaluate the current effectiveness, strengths and challenges of the team, including, their strategy, goals, and organizational structure (roles, process, and technology) that supports the execution of tasks to accomplish those goals. A more comprehensive review of how the team is working within the context of organizational factors, combined with, an analysis of the different behavioral styles, their natural strengths and struggles, the fit for the role and the fit within the organizational structure, values and behaviors (some people call this ‘culture’) will lead to a greater depth of understanding.

ENGAGE

But never stop at Knowing. Many people do and that is why they don’t see a lasting value with these exercises. The entire team, with the leader leading by example, needs to actively participate in the dialogue of what to do with this knowledge. And it can’t be just one team session talking “about” it. The team discussion needs to focus on how to apply this knowledge to their people, process, and technology. Each team member has to internalize ownership by explaining specific actions they are going to take to change how the team is working together. Often people want to focus on what other people need to do and not take ownership.

  • Is the reason the budget process is ineffective due to the instructions not being specific enough for Cooperative people who work better with specific instructions?
  • Is the process so detailed and constraining that Creative people have even more difficulty following it and the goal is not accomplished?
  • Does the CRM / HR / Process technology incorporate this behavioral knowledge in a way that is easy to access and apply at the moment?

GROW

Even great leaders and team members, tend to stop at the team session. Research shows that people, on average, require 7 interactions to be able to absorb information and change behavior. Most of us are lucky to communicate something 3 times before we lose patience. In order to truly grow the organization, there needs to be an intentional, specific, coaching or action plan (practice) over time with clear expectations to ensure that all this great learning translates into sustainable productivity enhancements.