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We Cant Agree on Anything.

We Can’t Agree On Anything

Nothing is more exasperating than watching a group of smart, qualified, intelligent executives deliberate about a key strategy, and fail to reach an agreement. In frustration, the team turns to the CEO to make the decision. Yet this is counterproductive, as whatever the CEO decides, some of the team will resent – and that resentment leads to a lack of a commitment to delivering an outcome.

It’s even more frustrating when attempting to reach a forward-thinking strategic plan for the business.

How you might ask, can this be so? These people are our leaders. They set the direction of the organization. We rely on them to make sensible decisions that can impact our careers. So, how come they are in disarray?

The CEO, after a few attempts to reach an agreement, called in a DNA Behavior facilitator to oversee the discussions.

These are just a few questions that went through my head as I watched, incredulous, as a significant group of executives began the process of planning for the next stage of the company’s direction.

As I sat to one side and observed their interaction, it was clear the room was heavy with bias, one-upmanship, egotism, and overconfidence pitched against compliance, indifference, and timidity. The assertive ones held their ground. The more vocal got louder. And the reflective and thoughtful seemed to be brooding.

Nothing was being resolved. Every stake put in the ground took the team further away from making decisions.

The DNA Behavior Solution

Each member of the team completed the Communication DNA Discovery Process, an assessment predominantly focused on revealing individual communication styles. Patterns quickly emerged showing the relationship gaps and areas where communication was breaking down, and why.

Independent research shows that Communication DNA leads to solving 87% of business issues, which are hidden as they are communication-related.

Once the team understood how their communication style was getting in the way of bringing their talent and behavioral smarts to the table, outcomes began to change.

As the Goal Setting individuals encouraged input from the Information and Stability individuals and the Lifestyle individuals used their approach to encourage everyone of the importance to reach a solution – suddenly everyone felt they had a voice. And rather than chaos, a solid structure began to take shape.

The team was then able to focus on their task. Egos, bias, and intolerance were replaced with listening, acknowledging input, and intelligent suggestions – a lively, but meaningful debate.

CDNA

As the task proceeded, the Lifestyle individuals suggested a flow chart to capture ideas. The Information individuals populated the flow chart, carefully catching ideas and suggestions. And the Goal Setters captured the key milestones for taking the organization into the next season and all agreed that it was a job well done.

From my perspective, the lesson learned for them as a strategic planning team of executives was the importance of understanding how to communicate with each other. Without the Communication DNA Discovery Process, this team would have failed to meet its obligations to set out the strategic plan for the next season. Important skills and talents would not have been brought to the table. Individuals would have left frustrated, and the business would have suffered without a cohesive sense of direction.

CDNA 3

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

ExtremeVetting

#ExtremeVetting: Hiring with Behavioral Insights

As the debate around extreme vetting heightens in the US, the discussion is shifting from border controls to hiring practices. Many businesses are looking to improve their service offering through requiring hiring agents to identify, in advance, behaviors that could potentially bring down an organization. There have been too many examples over the years of rogue behavior, particularly in the financial sector, causing havoc and destruction to businesses and their customers. To name but a few:

  • Madoff
  • Lehman
  • Forbes
  • Corzine
  • Fannie Mae

Gone are the days when talent alone gets you a job. While this approach served organizations well in the past, Hirers are now being tasked with vetting for values; for indicators of malevolent behavior under pressure; for approach to money; for bias; for candidates, whose behavior is consistent with the organization’s beliefs, values and culture.

For example: In response to the many problems faced by the financial industry, FINRA set regulations in place to counter the growing numbers of cases involving illegal behavior on the part of executives in the industry. It stipulated that in addition to its normal oversight, it would be looking at:

  1. How businesses communicate and reinforce its culture directly, implicitly and through its reward system.
  2. What metrics are used to measure compliance with its cultural values?
  3. Implementation and consistent application of values throughout the organization.

HR departments, hiring organizations and executive search consultants are now under pressure to introduce #extremevetting using validated methods such as the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery Process, to reveal a range of behavioral strengths and limitations. Employers need HR departments and recruiters to get below the surface of candidates to reveal the behaviors that cannot easily be revealed through questioning. Employers are demanding a holistic personality approach, not just a range of complex questions and resumes to be the tools for selection, nor scanning their social media for clues.

While Big Data has a place, it cannot provide insight into the actual personality of individual prospective hires. People are unique; how they communicate, interact with each other, respond under pressure, manage their emotions, each of these will be different. Whatever the approach to building a picture of a candidate, a validated behavioral insights discovery procedure, such as the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process provides 91% accuracy.

The cost of a bad hire is not the only driver of employers, the growing concern is will this employee fit the values and culture, or bring down my business? Further, recruitment agencies and executive search organizations are concerned with protecting the integrity of their own business by requiring clients to fit the role in terms of both skills and personality.

Many are now turning to the application of behavioral insights not just with candidates, but also through administering the DNA Behavior Discovery process with the client.

Recruiters assess the manager and culture of the organization to ensure their selected candidates are not just suitable for posts, not just a good fit, but that they know in advance how to communicate with managers and understand the values and culture of the organization.

Behaviorally smart organizations, whether recruiters or employers, define their values in cultural terms. And they now require interview processes to focus on whether the new hires will fit the desired culture without a steep learning curve to get up to speed. So, not just in terms of a candidate’s performance but their individual values and understanding of culture must align as well.

This #extremevetting approach when partnered with DNA Behavior and their Behavioral Intelligence Solutions is a behaviorally smart first step in the hiring process.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

Leadership2

The Good the Bad and the Ugly – Leading Corporate Culture

It’s the behavior of the leaders that shapes the culture of an organization. Do you agree?

As leaders, we make a conscious decision to lead well. But how successful are we if we don’t understand the impact of our own behavior on the culture of the organization. As leaders, we are always under the microscope of our employees; they mimic our behavior, adopt our values, and quote us. As for our customers, if what they see are inappropriate values that may determine whether or not to do business with. How can we ensure we are giving out the right message and that how we’re represented to our customers is good for the organization? Our behavior, and how it’s mirrored by others, impacts our organization’s bottom line. So it’s up to us whether our personal impact is positive or negative.

Just this week I have seen examples of both positive and negative behavior which highlights the need for leadership to understand that setting a cultural standard can showcase the business well.

It’s interesting that the two most emotionally charged environments for customers are flying and finances and yet much needs to be done to improve the cultures of these two industries regarding the behaviors they demonstrate when serving their customers.

Having just completed a 14-hour flight and needing to change currency in a bank I feel able to make some comment on the service I personally received.

Leg one of my flight had me more involved in watching the personal conversations/gossiping going on between the cabin crew when I was trying to get their attention for some water. To the crew, passengers seemed to be a distraction, at best, and a nuisance, at worst, to their conversation. It would not be difficult to determine that this level of poor customer service comes from the top.

The second leg of my flight was entirely different, the passengers were king, and the staff was attentive. They were gracious and professional, able to accommodate different conversations amongst all age groups and cultures. Clearly, standards set by leadership.

Next came the bank, long queues, no explanations, shortage of staff, and teller didn’t even look at me. Interestingly, I saw other tellers behaving in the same way. Again, this kind of behavior is mirrored from leadership. Sadly, I’ve experienced this the world over.

However, the second bank welcomed me at the door, and based on my need, directed me to a teller. I was greeted with a smile and made to feel that my $500 money exchange was the largest financial transaction the bank would undertake that day. Clearly, an example of leadership that teaches appreciation for each and every customer interaction.

When leaders set the vision and cultural direction through the lens of the customer, and they examine why people behave the way they do, they can then set vision and culture that responds to the needs of the customer.

It isn’t enough to know that people are nervous about flying or that they are concerned about having enough money for their journey. Airline staff and Financial organizations need to understand not only how to build a trusting relationship with their customers, but also to examine themselves to understand how they will react to the anxious passenger or fearful investor.

Great leaders know the importance of understanding their own leadership personality. By using a validated profiling system such as the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery Process, they can see in great depth their inherent behavior. This insight is foundational to self-awareness from which setting values and culture stem. Successful leaders set a vibrant culture that engages and energizes employees. They clearly define what culture means to them and walks it out both personally and professionally.

A culture audit will quickly identify how set values are being interpreted. For example, lack of resources can trigger behavior that directly impacts culture. Lack of training is a further trigger. But if culture criteria and standards are not set and known throughout the business it cannot be audited.

Michael Hiltzik, writing for the LA Times, makes this observation: The airline and banking industries may seem to be about as different as chalk and cheese, but Airlines and Wells Fargo have been shown to share a common bond: toxic corporate cultures that can be blamed on the men at the top, their chief executives.

Investopedia suggests the following meaning of corporate culture: Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.

Prof. James L. Heskett wrote in his book The Culture Cycle, effective culture can account for 20-30% of the differential in corporate performance when compared with culturally unremarkable competitors.

Culture is learned behavior, but its growth comes from a place of self-knowledge. If leadership and individuals know their own personality, they can quickly identify how well they can adapt to cultural standards.

So, what’s the lesson to be learned? Culture is set at the top of the organization. Leaders need to uncover their values as an important first step to establishing the culture of their organizations. This approach, using DNA Natural Discovery helps define the framework within which culture is set, decision making styles are formulated and goals achieved. It becomes especially important when leadership has different, even conflicting values. Admittedly defining your values is often hard to do, but when done truthfully and openly upfront at the leadership level, culture becomes much easier to set, communicate and carry out.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

Your Dysfunctional Boardroom.  Who's sitting at your Boardroom Table

Your Dysfunctional Boardroom. Who’s Sitting At The Table?

A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a corporation or organization. Source: Wikipedia

According to surveys commissioned by the UK Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), the most common topics of Boardroom disputes are:

  • 40.3% Financial, structural or procedural workings of the organization
  • 38.4% Personal behavior and attitudes of directors
  • 37.2% Strategy development, including mergers and acquisitions

The impact of Boardroom disputes on the business:

  • 49.3% Wasting management time
  • 44.9% Distracting from core business
  • 43.8% Reducing trust among board members

Frequency and difficulty of complicating factors:

  • 52.5% Issues over competing factors on the board
  • 49.6% Issues regarding the emotions of those involved in the dispute
  • 49.2% Conflict of personal or family interests versus interest of the company

Skills training those Board members most frequently want:

  • 74.8% Ability to deal with different personalities
  • 73.0% Ability to give and receive constructive feedback
  • 70.1% Ability to have difficult conversations
  • 69.5% Communication skills

From my personal experience – let me add a few more thoughts:

  • Do you know the individual talents of the Board members
  • Have you ever talked about the skill set they could bring to decision making

Are they a board member just because they have a marketable name – and they make your organization more appealing?

If any of these thoughts sound an alarm – then reader – you are not acting Behaviorally Smart.

A dysfunctional Board holds up decision making, causes headaches for the organization, and slows progress. It’s time to get in and sort them out. Remember, most Boards have subcommittees, so first find the root of the dysfunction.

Consider this, board members are already successful in their own right, so they bring with them a significant array of useful talents. But they also bring ego, bias, and unchecked behaviors. So if board members are not in sync with one another and their focus is not on the role they have been asked to fulfill – agendas will be confused, decision-making will be more difficult, and the organization will suffer.
Any decision-making body must be structured; not only regarding the way they conduct business but also from the standpoint that all members understand and respect each other’s opinion.

This structure is not achievable if the board lacks understanding of the personalities, communication styles, attitude towards finances and biases in play. The decision-making process will be stunted or fall apart altogether.

Dysfunctional Boardroom blog 1

The most effective way to assemble a cohesive board of directors is to have everyone complete a behavioral assessment such as the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process. This platform provides deep behavioral insights to predict business risks and bridge gaps in communication. It is a Behaviorally Smart approach to ensuring that the business of the Board is managed competently and wisely so that the organization can function well and deliver outstanding results.

By discovering board member personality insights it is possible to predict the group dynamic, their challenges and of course any go to behavior under pressure that might cause operational risk and poor decision making. You will see below the surface of the individual, and this will significantly impact how they work together.

Boards of directors are expected to perform, as in a fiduciary relationship, as an extended arm of shareholders in overseeing and controlling management activities in a manner that promotes shareholder interest. But when board members do not work well together, this type of environment stifles productivity and prevents board members from sharing constructive opinions. A meeting may become a venue for personal attacks rather than for focusing on coming to business decisions or providing constructive discussion.

Five Keys to Boardroom Success

  1. Know the board members

a. Identify their talents and determine where they fit in overseeing the organization
b. Discover their personality and communication style; this will radically impact the way in which the board is chaired, how discussions take place and more importantly, identify any potential behaviors that, under pressure, could gravely impact the business of the board.

2. Appoint a board member whose personality is that of a facilitator and is given the boardroom authority to manage the discussions

3. Appoint a highly creative, out of the box, thinker who may well be able to suggest solutions worthy of discussion that resolve a matter.

4. Conduct a specific talent discovery process and openly reveal the talent and experience in the room.

a. This shows the extent of the board room think tank
b. This delivers respect as board members defer to the colleague with the greatest experience in a particular area
c.This takes trust from management to a whole new level when they see the board members respect each other for the skills they bring to the table.

Dysfunctional boradroom blog 2

5. Using the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process, produce a boardroom team report that identifies the following:

a. Behavioral gaps needed to have a balanced viewpoint in the room

b. Strengths and limitations of the board members and how to use/manage them

i. What are the issues most likely to raise tensions?

ii. What are the bias and cultural challenges the group will face?

iii. What personality gaps persist?between key players such as the Chair and the CEO?

In conclusion: Jeffery A Sonnenfeld writing about good governance for the Harvard Business Review makes the following observation:

For a board to truly fulfill its mission, it must monitor performance, advise the CEO, and provide connections with a broader world. ?It must become a robust team whose members know how to ferret out the truth, challenge one another, and even have a good fight now and then. https://hbr.org/what-makes-great-boards-great

Only when you understand the personalities in the room can you determine whether the discussion is robust or chaotic.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

The Right White House Team

Balancing Trump’s Personality with the Right White House Team

Part 3 of 3 – It’s Somebody’s Circus With Somebody’s Monkeys

President-elect Donald Trump is determined to make America great again. To this end, he will take bold steps to deliver this promise. Balancing Trump’s Personality (Influencer DNA Behavioral Style) will require the right White House team that can cover his inherent blind-spots.

Donald Trump succeeded in winning the White House because intuitively he understands his personality and how to apply his pioneering, fast-paced, and risk-taking traits. Even if some aspects of how things get done or what he says are controversial, he understands how to use his expressive communication style to win people over.

However, Trump is likely to be pragmatic when it comes to selecting his White House team. He is driven by results, outcomes, and success and will surround himself with people who can deliver his vision. He has the ability to draw people together even if they were once an adversary, and will be able to quickly harness appropriate skills and talents to implement plans and ideas.

Donald Trump thrives on conversation and gains much of his knowledge, insight, and initiative through debate. Further, he understands the benefit of hearing other’s thoughts and opinions; for him, knowledge is power. The right White House team will need to consist firstly, of individuals who understand his enthusiasm, and secondly, be behaviorally smart regarding knowing how to manage their own and their president’s personality. Standing up to him will be hard, requiring confidence and courage.

In this team, there is only one place for a Trump personality, but those who have even opposite behaviors to Trump must be vigorous and able to add value to the White House team through balancing Trump’s personality and their own.

The ability to understand one another’s communication style is imperative to the success of the team. Each member will need insight into their behavior and communication style and know how to moderate their approach to build a team of confident people empowered to share their thoughts and ideas, in a mutually beneficial environment.

Donald Trump's White House Team
Donald Trump's White House Team

The Trump Team needs to provide balance to Trump’s personality. The green bars are Donald Trump’s personality traits measured by the Business DNA Discovery Process. The personality traits required to balance Trump are highlighted by the gaps in the summary below. He needs to hire behaviorally smart people who can fill these talent gaps.

Commanding: A consensus seeking, group orientated diplomatic person able to counter Trump’s authoritarian leadership style

People: A thinker, serious, quiet, able to listen/observe but with the confidence to point out potential issues/dangers.

Patience: A people-focused person, encourager, empathetic to others, skilled at accepting other’s differences & managing them.

Structure: A structured person, skilled at keeping others on track, focused, delivering results, keeping promises.

Trust: A person who will explain other points of view when trust is lacking. Confident to challenge micromanagement when others feel overly managed.

Pioneering: A person confident to say STOP when too much change is destroying reliable tried and tested, still relevant, processes.

Risk: A person strong enough to challenge or question high risk without shutting down innovation.

Creativity: A person excited by creativity but able to suggest balance and a more anchored approach

As for Trump’s current White House team appointments, without a formal, behaviorally smart process in place: “Is it a good way to pick a cabinet? Not especially,” says Reed Galen, who worked on several presidential campaigns and served the George W. Bush administration. “But Trump ran the worst technical campaign in modern history and is poised to become president, so what do any of us really know?”

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

How Hillary Clinton Undermined Her Own Success

With(out) Her – How Hillary Clinton Undermined Her Own Success

Part 2 of 3 – Hill’s Lack Of Self-Awareness

Hillary Clinton must be wondering why she lost the election while being the favorite and front-runner for most of the campaign. How did this happen? Hillary must look inwards to who she is and see that she did not master the strengths and struggles of her natural, “hard-wired”, Strategist DNA Behavioral Style. These behavioral insights identify the primary drivers of her good (and bad) leadership decisions, financial dealings and general approach to life.

The truth is that sometimes it is hard, even for me, to recognize the Hillary Clinton that other people see
- Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton’s Strategist behavioral style has made her successful, but with blind-spots that were clearly not managed, and therefore, her downfall. How Hillary Clinton Undermined Her Own Success:

Hillary Clinton Insights
  • Skeptical, and not transparent with information
  • Questioning, guarded, wary, and controlling
  • Not a good listener
  • Unable to relationally connect to people and feel what they are feeling
  • Very self-reliant and operates based on her own thinking
  • Structured, but potentially too rigid with plans
  • Quite cautious and not prepared to take strategic risks

 
For a smart, politically seasoned woman it’s fair to say that Hillary Clinton got in the way of her own success. Hillary Clinton’s behavioral insights reflect that she could be seen as cold and unapproachable as well as untrustworthy and dishonest, and did not do enough to allay these opinions.

Her personality showed her to be aloof and less willing to make changes, yet had she understood how others saw her. She could have managed her reflective behavior more effectively.

Clinton’s need for information and analysis gave the impression she was more focused on numbers and following a structured plan than on voter’s needs. Having insight into other’s perceptions would have ensured that her messaging was warmer and more empathetic. Furthermore, she could have gone deeper into the heartland where Trump went and secured the support of the disenfranchised white voter.

One clear issue that showcases how Clinton got in the way of her own success was an arrogant belief that she was taking for granted the presidential win, simply because her message was clear and candid. But had she known that her ability to listen empathetically to the people was very low, she could have changed her messaging to be significantly more heartfelt and managed her lack of empathy.

There is no doubt Clinton has the ability to take charge. The question is, does she have the personality to bring others along with her? With a tendency to keep information to herself and to invest little or no time in building meaningful relationships, it’s fair to say that her leadership style would be aloof and non-inclusive, which would certainly alienate team members.

When you are seeking to engage others with your plans and agendas; when you need others to deliver goals and your vision, failing to understand that a personality that is reflective, task focused, and overly serious about facts & figures, yet highly competitive, can be viewed as distant, cold and unapproachable.

Further demonstration that Clinton got in the way of her own success is her tendency to prefer tried and tested solutions. At a time when the people were looking for a change from the status quo, she did not understand that her lack of creativity presented her as gray and boring.

Clinton v Trump – The Comparison

66/98 Clinton will make considered decisions; appearing to be hesitant, requiring more and more information which could appear to be procrastinating. Trump will make fast decisive decisions; sometimes getting it wrong but always moving forward.
96/73 Clinton follows the rules to get the results she needs. Trump will break down boundaries and not wait to anticipate outcomes
54/99 Clinton tends towards keeping things as they are; avoids moving away from tried and tested ways of proceeding. Trump is all about doing whatever possible in achieving goals
95/62 Clinton will stick to agreed direction and agendas to achieve goals, even if they are not working out. Trump will change direction mid-stream if a different plan brings success.
66/92 Clinton is stuck in the status quo. Trump is open to new ideas if it achieves his goals.
66/90 Clinton needs details, analysis, and research to make decisions. Trump is not into the details, just the results.
79/90 Clinton is less forthright with communicating, which might cause confusion in mixed messaging. Trump is clear and forthright in expressing and communicating.
79/96 Clinton is less comfortable with conflict. Trump is not fazed by conflict and a dirty campaign.
90/84 Clinton is motivated by personal interest without regard for others. Trump the same.
92/90 Clinton is disinterested in other’s problems.
90/92 Neither are empathetic towards issues others face.

Hillary Clinton is calm and controlled in her behavior; appearing remote and superior. Her inability to understand her personality, or have the behavioral insights to be able to manage it, so people could see the strengths and talents as a leader cost her – the White House.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.