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What Contingent Liabilities are Your Employees Causing

What Contingent Liabilities are Your Employees Causing?

Rogue behavior costing $36 billion in legal bills since the financial crisis should give every Board member and Executive sleepless nights. Then add the cost to hire significant compliance and security management and staff to curb rogue behavior, and some serious questions need to be asked!

  1. What part does pressure to chase profitability encourage a greater level of risk to be taken?
  2. How much risk is the business willing to take? And at what level does risk become reckless?
  3. Is the level of inter-staff competitiveness so great that irresponsible risk is encouraged?
  4. How vigilant are those in leadership to the impact of pressure on employees?

Working in an environment pressurized to succeed at all costs, tends to be the norm, especially in the Financial Sector. Just look at Wells Fargo. Whilst taking risk is a legitimate part of building a successful business and keeping ahead of the competition, when pressure and risk collide it can quickly become a weapon in the wrong hands. Unable to balance risk under pressure to achieve results, the line becomes blurred between acceptable business practices and legal or moral improprieties.

Even more alarming, is when Boards and senior executives fail to acknowledge the environments that promote rogue behavior simply to increase profits. It could be argued that they are as culpable as the rogue employee. Daniel Kahneman, in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, says “we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.”

Prosecutions and regulatory enforcement stemming from noncompliance related to employee behavior such as corruption, bribery, rogue trading and insider trading are on the rise around the world. In fiscal 2015, the SEC filed nearly 7% more cases over the prior year, meting out $4.2 billion in sanctions.

People are hired for their talent but little attention is paid to their inherent personality. So when an individual is placed under significant pressure or pushed to take excessive risks, their behavior can turn rogue. The good news? When pressure and risk collide can now be predicted.

Using behavioral insights, management can dynamically match employees with specific environmental conditions to determine their potential response to risk and pressure. They can also discern the degree to which such responses could create rogue behavior and negative actions towards the business.

It is no longer enough to simply look at emails, computer keystrokes, outside influences, sick records etc. – the old hat of international espionage and anti-terrorist tools. What should be clearly understood is that the rogue employee is a human being, that when placed under significant pressure to achieve, will take risks.

The question to Boards and Executives is – do you know your employees?

What corporate entities have in their corner is direct and immediate access to their own personnel from top to bottom and every department – including even outside partners and vendors. So the solution is the deployment of a validated personality discovery process, providing hidden insights and a reliable prediction of where security or compliance risks exist.
Based on external research, employees with the following measurable behavioral traits are more likely to engage in rogue behavior when emotionally triggered

  1. An inventive mind, full of ground-breaking ideas turns their thoughts to curious and devious thinking when, as an example; many of their ideas are rejected.
  2. A go-getting, determined person, driven to success at any cost; begins to cut corners, as a toxic competitive streak takes over.
  3. A reticent, uncommunicative, taciturn minded person normally just seen as the quiet one’ begins to hold onto key information that others need, simply because they have taken offense over something trivial.
Which Employee is Your Molotov Cocktail2

DNA Behavior International’s validated system gets below the surface to reveal behaviors that, if not managed, can lead to ruinous behavior.
The Unique DNA Behavior Approach is able to Score, Filter, and Prioritize Employee Personality Insights.

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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.

Managing Difficult Conversation during Performance Appraisal Feedback

Managing Difficult Conversation during Performance Appraisal Feedback

Janet heads up a team of fifteen sales representatives who sell technology solutions in the financial services industry. She is preparing to have a difficult conversation with one of those sales people whose performance has slipped significantly. This will be Janet’s first appraisal with Nicky, a popular, and well-liked member of the sales team. As Janet prepares for the meeting she knows that a foundational premise to the exchange will be to speak candidly. She believes the important first step is to set out all of the issues with a view to having a conversation, finding a resolution and setting out a plan to go forward.

Four Primary Communication Styles Graph

By nature, Janet is driven to reach goals, very competitive, confident and in exercising initiative makes things happen. Janet is currently under pressure as the expected sales levels have not been reached by the team. Nicky is considered to play a key role in delivering sales, but this has not been reflected in the current numbers.

Nicky openly expresses her views; she is engaging and communicates with enthusiasm. Nicky is a ‘glass half full’ person often promising much that doesn’t actually get delivered. She is popular and builds networks with ease.

The most challenging part of the conversation for Janet will be to tie Nicky down to explaining why sales are falling. Janet needs the meeting to accomplish something if only to explain the current downturn. In addition, she wants there to be a specific agreement about what will be done, by whom, and when it will be completed.

As soon as Nicky enters the meeting room she dominates the conversation by passionately recounting an opportunity that she was currently working on. The more Janet tries to pull the conversation back on track the more Nicky regales with stories about what she would be working on and the opportunities in the pipeline. At this point, Janet found herself retreating (in her mind) against this barrage of chatter.

Her intention to obtain mutual understanding with Nicky that something has to be done to improve performance and close the performance gap was fading. Janet’s plan to provide a clear message to Nicky that she wanted her to succeed, and that she was there to assist, fell by the wayside. Janet’s frustration rose to a level where she assertively told Nicky to stop talking and listen. Janet then continued the meeting assuming control. Janet laid out the sales issues firmly and with little consideration to the impact of her now firm voice.

Had Janet, as the leader, known how to re-focus Nicky and keep her on track she would have achieved her desired outcome. Instead, Nicky closed down; her confidence seemed to fade immediately; she had hoped to gain Janet’s approval but instead felt herself becoming emotional.

The reality of the situation is that both Janet and Nicky were operating from their natural zone, and they did not have the awareness to adapt. As the leader Janet realized that the performance appraisal was not going well and that there was a real risk of Nicky’s performance slipping further due to lack of self-confidence. Then Janet recalled that when applying for this current role her executive search consultant asked her to complete the Communication DNA Discovery Process which identified her communication style as being direct. She realized that if before the conversation or even as she was preparing for the performance appraisal meeting Nicky had also completed her Communication DNA then the result of the difficult conversation could have been different. Janet would have seen the benefits of giving Nicky time to be exuberant with her stories and further, understood how to keep her on track so they could have a mutually beneficial exchange.

 

 Lifestyle Communication DNA Style

  1. Keep to an overview of the strategy and not too much detail
  2. Smile a lot and keep an upbeat, positive tone
  3. Have meetings in a relaxed environment, and allow more time
  4. Let them talk openly but keep on track
  5. Address their lifestyle goals
  6. Provide clean and simple graphics to invoke emotions (fewer words)
  7. Talk about “spending budgets” and returns in a range
  8. Ask what their “gut feeling” is on your recommendations
  9. Make decisions interactively together and provide opinions of others
  10. Recognize them with invitations to social events

With this knowledge Janet would have discovered how to address Nicky’s more exuberant approach, acknowledge her successes, smile a lot and keep an upbeat tone which would have put Nicky at her ease for more difficult and strategic discussion to take place. Janet had wanted them to make decisions together and share opinions on how best to move forward. However, Nicky would have realized that Janet didn’t need long stories but did need meetings to be structured and with meaningful outcomes.

The performance appraisal did not go well. No conclusion was reached. Janet suggested to Nicky that they reconvene at which time Nicky should produce a plan and strategy on how best to increase sales and, in addition, bring any suggestions she might want to include to improve the sales process.

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What Talents are Lost to Your Business by Pigeonholing People?

Pigeonholing is any process that attempts to classify disparate entities into a small number of categories (usually, mutually exclusive ones).? The term usually carries connotations of criticism, implying that the classification scheme referred to inadequately reflects the entities being sorted, or that it is based on stereotypes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeonholing

There may be a tendency to think that some behavioral styles are inherently more suited for certain types of careers, roles and making certain types of life or business decisions than others; however that is not the case.? To make this assumption pigeon holes the individual.

For instance, we often associate people trained as Engineers or Accountants as being a certain style of person. Usually, the association is that they are highly structured, planned, detailed and suffer from

Behavioral Approach to Hiring Trap: The Dangers of Hiring Yourself

Right Person, Right Job, Right Fit

Hiring is one of the most significant functions of leadership. Hiring people that fit the culture of the organization can be more important than focusing on talent and skills alone. Hiring candidates that are culturally fit with your organization can help companies improve employee retention, engagement, loyalty and organizational stability. Understanding behavioral styles and how candidates would fit into not just the company culture, but the team dynamics and the specific tasks they have to perform, is fundamental to the hiring process.

Results of studies over the years vary on the exact cost of hiring the wrong person. But unquestionably, a bad hire brings exorbitant costs in the efforts of time, training, productivity, disruption, and possibly lost sales. These costs certainly include a lost opportunity to have had the right person accomplishing the tasks.

Overall, hiring is an expensive investment as it takes one of the most valuable resources: time. Therefore, it shouldn’t be rushed. Every hire must add value and fulfill a strategic role that enables the vision of the business to be expressed and implemented.

If the candidate performs well at the interview stage and theres a personal connection, exercise careful consideration as you might be in danger of hiring yourself. Hiring candidates who reflect your characteristics is a costly trap many leaders fall into.

If you are a leader involved in hiring, ensure that there is a very clear idea of the job to be filled and the value getting the right hire brings to the business. Feeling familiar and comfortable with a potential hire might not be good for the business but it takes an evaluation. Understanding how to manage different communication and behavioral styles to best engage hires with the business is a key to the evaluation and solution/ answer.

Wise leaders hire and develop people who are smarter than themselves. To be a proactive leader, understand the gaps in your own skill set and look for candidates who are able to fill those gaps in order to build a team that can deliver continuous excellent outcomes. A well rounded team leverages each team members strengths to match the tasks to be completed.

The key is to understand how to manage individuals behaviors within a team environment. Successful teams will always include, for example, relationship builders as they glue the team together and manage stake-holders expectations. Strategists, who are the planners, steer the team to deliver required outcomes on time. Initiators, who are the take charge type, motivate and author changes in direction and pace if required. Reflective thinkers question and evaluate the details.? Such behavioral factors working together bring strengths to an organization or team but also present some blind spots. As a leader, it is important to understand this dynamic and use the knowledge to draw together a cohesive, balanced, and high performing team.

Hiring the right person for the right job should involve a variety of viewpoints and skill sets. You want your team to challenge each other to achieve at the next level.

Understanding communication and behavioral styles uncovers:

  • Talents ? predictable behaviors that are ingrained
  • Learned Behaviors ? behaviors that are developed or evolved:
  • Skills
  • Knowledge
  • Experiences
  • Environments
  • Core Foundations:
  • Passion
  • Values
  • Purpose
  • Healthy Money Attitude

Leaders, heres your challenge: Use your understanding of different behavioral styles as a stepping stone guide to the right hire and:

  1. Be clear on the company and team values and company culture; who will fit in and/or what complimentary styles need to be added
  2. Evaluate the process, role, specific tasks and responsibilities that require an additional person
  3. Develop a benchmark for the “desired” behavioral style of the new hire that fits the role, the team and the company
  4. In addition to reviewing resumes, references and interview results, add a behavioral assessment for each candidate to see how close to the desired benchmark profile they are for another data point in the decision making process.
  5. Look at what the team will look like with the new person on the team (should there be a shift in responsibilities to leverage individual strengths?)
  6. Include a discussion on behavioral styles in the hiring process (this offers some really great discussions and insights that regular interview questions don’t provide.)

Invest time into building your team through both resume content and uncovering natural behavior, which provides stability over the long-term. Natural behavior is the unique mix of ingrained traits that shape how a person responds to other factors in their life that constantly change ? upbringing, workplace, learning, passion, relationships. Uncover this and you will have the right person in the right job delivering the right fit and will not have fallen into the trap of hiring yourself.