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Remote Working

Invest In and Trust Your Workforce

This article first appeared on HR Management App.

Remote work is really about trust. Are they doing their job? Are they slacking off?
Sometimes leaders don’t support remote working because they feel the need to be in control.

As the CEO of a global company I have key executives working remotely. The executive team meet regularly via voice and video chat apps. The team leaders meet daily for 10 minutes with an executive.

I am in regular contact with my managing director and at least once a week with the full executive team. If time zones get in the way of face-to-face meetings, we record them, and the links await the team member when they are back at their desk.

Technology is the key enabler of remote working. Fast wi-fi connections, project management software and other tech tools help us communicate and collaborate instantaneously.

So, how do we make this work?

Well, it helps that we are in the business of accelerating human performance. We deliver real-time management solutions through validated behavioral insights to connect, customize and power human performance.

So, I hire the right people. But you don’t have to be in my industry to get remote work right.

And not everyone has the behavior to be comfortable working remotely. They want and need the interaction of working in an office with a team around them. Wherever I can, we accommodate this.

Others are comfortable with and excel in the remote experience. They are able to function alone but also want to know they can interact with colleagues as and when they need to.

I ensure communication is robust. Each staff member has access to connect with their colleagues as they wish. Any instructions or guidance is imparted using a variety of styles, words, pictures, videos – whatever is needed to get messages across. People think and give and receive information differently.

All staff are hired not just for their talents and credentials, but also for the “fit” to the benchmarked role they will fill. They are also profiled using a validated system to ensure their behaviors meet our cultural and behavioral standards. The outcomes also show those whose inherent behavior is more suited to remote working.

Ask them to “talk back”

All executives and team leaders are required to take part in our 360-degree performance review. Regardless of where they sit in the world or where their staff are, we continuously check to make sure everyone feels valued and supported.

The greatest gift I can give to my team is to trust them. In return my employees are happier and loyal. Stress levels are low, and they work hard and have the space to play hard and keep their life in balance.

I was skeptical in the beginning but after eighteen years of remote working in some form or other, I’m persuaded every leader should consider using this form of working with their teams.

Invest in a discovery process that optimizes your people and procedures, including shorter term check-ins and long-view feedback loops. You’ll be investing in your team members and they, in turn, will be more invested in you.

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Who’s In Charge? 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.

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Bad Attitudes Are Contagious

Workplace attitudes influence every person in the organization, from team colleagues to the leadership. Attitudes can control the workplace environment by impacting morale, productivity, and team effectiveness. Understanding and recognizing the behaviors that are at the root of poor attitudes is essential to the ongoing success and security of the business.

It only takes one person with an unchecked bad attitude to bring down an organization. The power of such an individual to cause destruction will stem from a variety of places: fear, anger, dissatisfaction, jealousy, or bad attitude. Whatever the trigger, the danger, if this behavior is left unchecked, can become a weapon of mass destruction to the business.

What part do you play in ensuring inappropriate behavior is challenged? If you hear or are part of an exchange that begins with.. “just between you and me,” or “I know you won’t tell anyone..”, it’s clear a confidence is about to be broken. So, what is your reaction?

Low-level gossipy stuff is every bit as important to identify and stamp out as is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. That one who presents as committed, loyal and trustworthy, but, under pressure, this surface learned behavior can turn lethal.

A person who intentionally sets about leaking classified information (for example), and not always for monetary gain, but simply because they have been passed over for promotion, or they have some ideological position that they think legitimizes them to leak information. These are the people that CEOs are crying out to identify to limit the damage.

A recent article in BuzzFeed News reports: Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old Air Force veteran, was arrested on Saturday after the Department of Justice alleged that she printed out a classified document on her work computer and mailed it to The Intercept. Winner served in the Air Force for six years, where she worked as a linguist specializing in Arabic and Farsi. She had recently worked for a government contractor in Augusta, Georgia, where the NSA also has a facility.

Only time will tell as to her motivations, but the question to ask is this – could managers and supervisors have read any signs to alert them to a rogue in their midst? The answer is yes.

The 2016 Global Fraud Study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) estimated that the typical organization loses 5% of revenues in each year because of fraud. The total loss caused by the cases in their study exceeded $6.3 billion, with an average loss per case of $2.7 million.

These statistics expose the need for robust and validated analytics to be the foundation for identifying/managing behaviors that can become a potential threat to business.

DNA Behavior‘s founder and CEO Hugh Massie has always advocated the importance of putting people before numbers. He believes that investing in understanding people, and getting below the surface of what is seen, to discover inherent behavior will, in the end, safeguard the numbers, while protecting the business.

Monitoring employees through the collection of Big Data can provide insights into social networking, relationships and even reveal normal behavior turning malevolent, but falls short. Readily available psychometric assessment tools bridge the gap. The Business DNA Natural Discovery Process identifies, who, when placed under pressure, is most likely to cause disruption to the business. Further, they reveal the environmental catalysts that provoke such behavior.

In the current theater of world politics, opinions are heightened. 80% of future lone wolves are known to take politics personally and claim that they have been wronged enough that action would be justified.

But creating rogue behavior does not necessarily require a change in government or some other significant change – the threat within can be a team member who cannot cope with pressure or are dissatisfied with the environment in which they work. It’s that simple. This kind of behavior can be revealed and managed.

The solution is the deployment of a validated personality discovery process, providing insights into hidden, hard-wired traits 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. Innovative – bright mind, which turns into curious and devious thinking
  2. Ambitious – desire for success, leading to cutting corners
  3. Secretive – working under cover and not revealing key information

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When every member of a team knows, understands and is comfortable with each others behavior, it not only builds trust, but such effective teams give companies a significant competitive advantage. High-functioning teams would identify and weed out malevolent behavior instantly. They are alert to any sign of inappropriate behavior and challenge it.

Becoming a behaviorally smart organization is as simple as using a highly validated behavioral discovery process. Armed with the depth of insight such a discovery provides, management can dynamically match employees with specific environmental conditions to determine their potential response. They can also discern the degree to which such responses could create damaging behavior and negative actions towards the business.

Lastly, management can apply these insights towards talent re-allocation, employee evaluation, team development and improved hiring processes.

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

Going Your Own Way on Blackboard

Fix or Finesse: Your Culture Needs Attention

Every organization has a culture – as a leader you need to know whether the culture is healthy or not. Toxic culture must be addressed but so should healthy culture to see if it needs tweaking.

Changing the culture in an organization can be a nightmare for a leader. If a change in leadership is because of a poor performing business, it can become incredibly frustrating for a new CEO to have to sideline results to focus on changing the culture.

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But here’s a thought; what is your culture? Would it stand up to scrutiny? Are your values open to scrutiny both in your personal and business life?

Investopedia defines Corporate Culture as “the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside 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.”

Success comes from understanding the behaviors and motivations of the people. Only then can cultural change have a hope of succeeding. Using a highly-validated discovery such as DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process, leaders can identify, in advance, the people’s ability to cope with cultural change and how it should be introduced and communicated. Only then can CEOs know that whatever they introduce will work.

Culture change requires strong, focused, versatile and decisive leadership. A person’s performance needs to be addressed in relation to their behaviors and personality, not necessarily to their ability. Knowing an individual’s personality traits in advance, and how, or if, they fit the proposed organizational culture and values, can make all the difference in terms of the success or failure of the proposed changes.

There are several keys for CEOs that will support their cultural change efforts.

  1. If no one is talking and boasting about the culture of the organization, it’s a sure sign there isn’t one, or if there is, it’s toxic.
  2. It starts at the top – often said, but rarely practiced. A leader who knows their own personality, their EQ, their communication style, their bias (yes, we all have them) and their own personal values, are more likely to be able to introduce cultural change than a leader who does not have this insight.
  3. Measure the current culture – maybe not everything needs to change.
  4. The use of a validated personality discovery process can quickly identify those able to manage cultural change and who are behaviorally smart enough to capture culture and vision quickly and run with it.
  5. Data that delivers accurate information about people can identify quickly those who can be used as ambassadors to manage the introduction of cultural change. (And it won’t always be the obvious employees)
  6. Hiring – audit your hiring processes – introduce a validated personality profiling system. Set a hiring benchmark. Don’t settle for second best. Re-training existing employees could be a more effective option.
  7. When introducing a cultural change training program, keep auditing it to ensure it’s relevant and working.
  8. CEOs – it’s important not underestimate the power of your regular communication with the business. Use your communication to acknowledge the people who have disproportionate influence in the organization and are working with you to introduce the cultural change.
  9. If there are hot spots and resistance to the cultural change, name and shame them.
  10. CEOs – remember to create a vision of what the future for the organization looks like after the cultural change.

In conclusion – here’s the prize: as the culture develops and individuals take responsibility for what happens in their work areas, problems are solved where they happen and by those affected. This frees up leadership to focus on the business and its opportunities.

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

 

The Battle of the Entrepreneur Sexes

Battle of the Entrepreneurial Sexes

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Are there differences between men and women entrepreneurs? According to Harvard Business Review, there are!

While men and women rated themselves similarly on many dimensions, women were more confident in their ability to efficiently manage operations and in their vision and influence, while men expressed greater confidence in their comfort with uncertainty and finance and financial management.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2014 Women’s Report, women around the world have narrowed the gender gap in entrepreneurship by 6% from 2012 to 2014. They are finding paths to launching more businesses in industrialized and developing nations, according to a new report. On average, more women globally are taking advantage of educational gains and perceived economic opportunities to start businesses that can pave the way for financial independence.

In their United States Study titled, Force Multipliers How Three Fundamental Adaptations Can Help Women Entrepreneurs Scale Big, Ernst & Young found that:

  1. In the US, women start businesses at 1.5 times the rate of men and are at least half-owners of 46% of privately held firms.
  2. In 2015, the number of enterprises with full or partial female ownership was expected to increase by nearly 7% with sales growing to reach $2.967 trillion, representing nearly 18% of projected GDP in 100 countries, as measured by the World Bank.
  3. Yet, only 2% of women-owned businesses in the US break $1 million in revenue
  4. Businesses owned by men are 3.5 times more likely to reach the $1 million threshold.
  5. Women-owned businesses currently employ 7.8 million workers in the US and generate $1.3 trillion in revenue.

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However, in a Global survey conducted by the French bank BNP Paribas and consultancy firm Scorpio Partnership, their findings found that women-run businesses reported average annual sales of $9.1 million, while their male rivals manage about $8.4 million. Additionally, they discovered that female entrepreneurs launch more businesses (4.9) than male entrepreneurs (4.3).

Ernst and Young conclude by suggesting entrepreneurs develop a flexible, adaptive leadership style, highlighting the need to be self-aware and to know when to change focus, and how.

This last observation from Ernst and Young, i.e., entrepreneurs develop a flexible, adaptive leadership style, highlighting the need to be self-aware and to know when to change focus, and how holds the key to understanding the mind and genetics of entrepreneurs, regardless of gender.

DNA Behavior International, through extensive research using their highly-validated Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery Process, has identified several key personality traits that define entrepreneurs, and detailed in their latest book, “Mastering Your Entrepreneurial Style“. These findings go to the core of individuals knowing themselves and understanding their hard-wired genetics. The Discovery process specifically reveals, in addition to the hard-wired personality traits, the characteristics inherently ingrained into successful entrepreneurs, regardless of gender. This is the “go to” behavior which repeatedly reveals itself under pressure, during all the stages of the entrepreneurial journey.

The natural hard-wired behavior reflects a person’s genetics and the experiences from the first three (3) years of their life. So, we recommend the use of the Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery Process to measure a person’s entrepreneurial genes.

Regardless of the success of the individual sexes – each demonstrates certain degrees of measurable traits that determine whether they have the entrepreneurial gene.

The five (5) key traits of an entrepreneur are listed below Figure 1. Figure 2 identifies how these traits break down between men and women entrepreneurs.

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Figure 1

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Figure 2

Understanding how to manage and use these entrepreneurial traits determines success or failure in terms of the enterprise, regardless of what that is.

Finally, the National Council of Women in Technology (NCWIT), whose analysts assessed data to discover the differences between men and women entrepreneurs determined, there was almost no difference between men and women company founders

  • Both had an equally strong passion for building wealth.
  • Both started their companies to capitalize on business ideas.
  • Both enjoyed the culture of startups.
  • Both were tired of working for a boss.
  • Both had a long-standing desire to own their own businesses.
  • Their average ages at startup were the same.
  • Men and women were equally likely to have children at home when they started their businesses. (However, men were more likely to be married.)

Do you have what it takes to be an Entrepreneur?

It is more than a desire to control your own destiny, though that’s a major key.
Not every person possesses all the qualities required to be successful in business. Whats important is to understand if you have the entrepreneurial genetics. Completing the DNA Behavior Discovery process is a first step to revealing your personality traits.

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

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.

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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.

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