RSS

Tag Archives: Trust

Personal Leadership Should Focus On Team Success First

Everyone has the responsibility to demonstrate personal leadership. When interacting with others, every communication tells a story of what you value, and it’s critical to model the right behaviors

Here are a few characteristics of an engaging team environment. Ask yourself how you can personally role model these characteristics with your colleagues:

1. Clear goals and commitment to team goals. How will I demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to solving challenges as a team?

2. Accountability to the team. How will I demonstrate that I am personally invested and responsible to the team?

3. Supportive climate and behaviors. How will I acknowledge and complement other team members for their creativity and achievements?

4. Mutual trust and respect. How will I openly share my own strengths, opportunities, and best practices?  Volunteer for more peer to peer sessions.

5. Results focus. How will I reward and celebrate the achievement of specific personal and team goals?

6. Good communication and constructive conflict. How will I engage in open and passionate debate of ideas and opinions, respecting others POV and embracing diversity of viewpoints?

I am privileged to work on the Macmillan Higher Education Inside Sales team where all of these behaviors are already evident.  It’s incumbent on me to increase and enhance my level of contribution as I gain competency and trust with the team.

 

Tags: , , ,

Virtual Work Place of the Now

Virtual Work Place of the Now

Social media provides instant feedback.  If you struggle with that thought, toss something controversial on Twitter and see how quickly it gets re-tweeted.  The virtual workforce is more aligned with Social Media behaviors and requires and demands immediate feedback to advance the goals of the organization.  Performance appraisals that are now performed on a semi-annual or annual cycle are outdated.  You should be getting performance feedback every day in our ultra-connected virtual world.

When working virtually, most communication is work centric transactional without the emotional investment of social and non-verbal feedback.  The imperative of feedback is critical to keep progress towards objectives aligned.  It is equally critical to allow more prudent risk taking.  Consider the role of the waiter in a restaurant.  The server receives instantaneous feedback on their “performance” through customer interactions and the compensation feedback through the tip at the end of the meal.  Presentation style, fluency of the menu, and checking for feedback during the meal together provide a table by table appraisal for the server.  How does this fit into our virtual meeting and conference call process of today? Do you get regular and immediate feedback from virtual meetings or conference calls?  If not, what might not happen that can propel the team forward to meeting and exceeding their goals?

Virtual work can attenuate risk since the physical feedback of facial expression and body language can’t be assessed to determine whether the risk is additive or aggravating to the process.  For the majority of the less courageous and politically insecure workforce, risk will be averted in the virtual workplace.  Consider how much quicker and more creative a result can be achieved when risk inviting processes are part of the decision process.

There are ways to mitigate this challenge. One advantage of the virtual workplace is less time spent commuting.  In my case, my commute consists of descending a flight of stairs and crisscrossing a busy kitchen to get to my home office.  How best to spend this found time?  Set aside time each day to invest in the relationships with those you need to collaborate with.  Schedule time with someone you don’t know well or is new to the team and spend 10-15 minutes to get to know them as a person, not just a work colleague.  Learn about their backgrounds and experiences.  Ask them what they enjoy most about the work problem and what they find the most challenging or frustrating.  Share the same with them such that each of you understands better how to partner in the virtual work place.

Special attention should be directed to those that participate at a minimum level.  Are they not challenged in their role?  Are they bored?  Do they feel they are an outsider to the team?  Not knowing the answers puts their contribution at risk.  Spending 10-15 minutes understanding their concerns could provide many hours of positive ROI for that small time investment.

By now I hope you see my theme.  Virtual work places will become the norm.  If we do not invest in building the emotional cultural fabric that exists by default in the physical work place, the results will be pedestrian and the euphoria of celebrating as a team will be non-existent or disingenuous at best.  Virtual work is harder and challenging as it demands purposeful reaching out to build the pathways to relationships necessary for organizational success.

Twitter         http://twitter.com/#!/ebecker
LinkedIn QR
 

Tags: , , , ,

EthiCorVigilance and Integriology Create an Ethical Culture and Employee Engagement

A Podcast of this blog post is available at http://bit.ly/nHlVzO

In a previous blog, Hello, I Must be Going – Employee Engagement in a Recovering Economy, I suggested some ways that management could enhance employee engagement. That discussion was focused on retention of employees that drive the success of the firm. The short list included communicating the company’s strategy and goals, developing a sense of community, recognition, and supported development plans. Click on the link above for a more detailed discussion of these topics.

EthiCorVigilance and Integriology (ECV&I) or Ethical Corporate Vigilance and Integriology (my term – study of integrity) is the practice and processes necessary to not just retain top performers; it is the defining set of ethics and values that gains the maximum benefit from these employees. Engaged employees recommend their company to friends and family and take pride in working there. They are willing to go the extra mile for their organization, making it possible for the company to do more with less. They can be counted on to make independent decisions and take action in ways that are consistent with the company’s culture, objectives, and values. They require less supervision and direction and adapt easily to changing roles and responsibilities. Employee engagement can be linked to observation of the company’s commitment to Ethical behaviors and demonstrated processes that support Ethical conduct.

In a 2009 National Business Ethics Survey from the Ethics Resource Center and the Hay Group, a key finding showed that “positive perceptions of an organization’s ethical culture are associated with higher levels of engagement. Furthermore, management’s commitment to ethics is particularly important for employee engagement”. Their key takeaway was “given the profound connection between a com¬pany’s ethical culture and employee engage¬ment, managers should work actively to demonstrate a commitment to ethics, foster open communication, promote ethical role modeling, and encourage accountability.”

Ethics are central to situations where “the right thing to do” is in question, and the outcome of the decision affects many people including employees and customers. Identifying the “right thing” is often a complex challenge that in¬volves identifying conflicting responsibilities to a wide range of stakeholders. Challenging every employee to act as ethicists and keep the company’s core values in sight provides an opportunity for each employee to see their contribution in the larger picture of the company’s public profile and brand in the marketplace. As each person experiences their unique contribution to building the company brand through ethical and value driven behaviors, employee engagement is amplified.

Some questions that every organization should grapple with are

1. Can every employee identify one or more key executives who have proven to uphold the company values?

2. Does the company have the right values in place to guide them in a difficult situation or crisis?

3. Will the company be proud of their core values if exposed to a critical public, government agency, or customer segment?

4. Which values will the extended stakeholders of the company expect in challenging or crisis situations?

It’s not enough to talk about “company culture” when a firm says that their culture is a defining competitive advantage. The company must come forth with their value statements, articulated by senior executives and board members. It must be instilled in every manager and employee through training and measurement of adherence to ethical and value driven behaviors. The growing power of social media, which provides a platform for employees to share their perspective with a wide audience, greatly amplifies employ¬ees’ impact in the marketplace, and creates both opportunity and risk. It is imperative that every employee experiences ethics and values through the consistent behaviors, decisions, and actions of every member of the leadership team.

EthiCorVigilance and Integriology (ECV&I) must be the overarching and sustainable practice for enhancing brand awareness and creating proud and passionate employees wanting nothing short of amassing competitive market success creating strong career opportunities and growth. Done well, ECV&I will create an ethical culture that indeed creates a unique competitive advantage.

Twitter         http://twitter.com/#!/ebecker
 LinkedIn QR
 

Tags: , , , , ,

Intentional Courage – Creating a Culture of Courage Leadership

This blog is now available as a Podcast. Down load and play in your mp3 player when time permits http://bit.ly/inaxcC

In a previous blog, I challenged you to “extend Trust to others” as an intentional action instead of waiting for enough experiences and behaviors to accumulate to allow that person into your trust circle.  Extending Trust requires Intentional Courage, and all too often that doesn’t happen since the risk of moving out of our comfort zone demands more than we are willing to commit. We gravitate to media accounts of people displaying extraordinary courage, often as a result of a catastrophic event or on the field of combat.  These Reactive Courage behaviors enable that person to achieve what might have seemed to be improbable results, and we stand in awe.

Courage Makes Your Leadership Visible

In the business world, we gravitate to leaders that display confidence and self-assurance.  My sense is that their success has resulted from a series of Intentional Courage actions, but these leaders are the exception to the rule.  In a Gallup Management Journal study on Overcoming Barriers to Success, fear was the first barrier cited, and the one most difficult to overcome.  We face fear when giving a presentation to a senior executive or key customer, informing a customer about a mistake or delay in schedule, or delegating an important task to a more junior person instead of doing it ourselves.  In each instance, the action needs to happen, and approaching it with Intentional Courage instead of fear can create dramatic differences in outcomes for all parties.

Business leaders face tough decisions frequently. Most of the time, they face a decision between an easy but poor choice versus the difficult but good choice. Those who succeed and become better and more assured leaders are those who can reach deep down inside and consistently act on the hard but right decision. They display courage that is highly visible to the organization.  Those behaviors in turn create an environment where courage is rewarded and pulls along others in the organization, creating an organizational competitive advantage.

We live in a business world where change is the norm.  Yet needed change of direction can be inhibited by the fear of changing course from the comfort of the current.  Strong leaders look forward, see where they need to go, make their plans, communicate with their teams and execute.  Intentional Courage illustrated.

I’ve started to access specific actions I have taken during the week that demanded Intentional Courage instead of just going with the status quo.  These daily and weekly scorecards create a set of metrics that guide me in what I must do to change outcomes, absorbing the risk of change to gain the benefit of greater success. Intentional Courage in business is a necessary behavior to achieve dramatic results, and can be good practice area for the larger and more demanding domain of Moral Courage that envelops all of the roles that we inhabit during our lifetime.  I’ll conclude with an extract from Robert Kennedy’s 1966 address to the University of Capetown.

“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change the world which yields most painfully to change.”

Through each of our intentional actions, we can change outcomes in our business, our personal lives, and possibility the world around us.  It’s our choice to make.  Make it with Intentional Courage.

Twitter         http://twitter.com/#!/ebecker
    LinkedIn QR
 
 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Leadership, LinkedIn, Trust

 

Tags: , ,

Trust – Orienteering To Results, Profit, and Values

The success of teams that I have led has been built on a foundation of trusted relationships.  While these teams might have gained success by their pure functional and consulting skills, integrating the power of trust has assured success and created a challenging and delightful environment for everyone to take risks to power up their careers and develop long-term relationships.

Me at Outward Bound – Trust?

I define Trust as two key components, personal integrity and competence.  Integrity is being authentic and honest in our relationships, and competence embodies the skills and intelligence to deliver results.  Both are required for dramatic and extraordinary outcomes.  

Being honest without competence makes for a nice relationship that can’t be counted on to deliver.  Competence without integrity drives to an “ends justifying the means” process, potentially getting one result that is not repeatable and eroding organizational trust along the way. 

Many times over recent years, the market has declined when investors lost trust in government or financial leaders.  We have seen the market gain strength when actions have been taken to remove or indict those that betrayed the public or investor trust.  I want to believe that this investor backlash is creating a global renaissance of Trust. Thinking through this, if the market gains strength by convicting distrust in leadership,  can we leverage markedly improved financial performance by focusing on enhancing Trust in an organization? 

Take a moment and think about someone who you Trust.  How easy is it to work with this person?  How fast can decisions be made?  How confident are you that commitments will be met?  Even if your communication is imprecise, they will still get your meaning.  Now consider working with someone of low Trust, or worst yet, mistrust.  How many cycles, how much more thorough must the communication be to increase the odds of successful results?  At its worst, even your best communications will be misinterpreted. 

Now reverse the process and think about who Trusts you?  Would you be described as someone who “Does the Right Thing and Gets the Right Thing Done?” by your peers, your manager, or most importantly by your clients?  You expect Trust to be extended to you.  The challenge is – how often do you extend Trust to others?  Some of us may take the “Earn My Trust” paradigm.  While blind Trust in a brand new situation could get you burned for being gullible, extending Trust to those you are somewhat connected to should be a risk tolerant process given the character of those you would consider friends and colleagues or future colleagues.

I recall an experiential Trust exercise I organized many years ago with a team that had never worked together, maybe like some of the teams you may have been on. This team was challenged to craft a business plan and operating model for a new business subsidiary for a major corporation, and the effort was time boxed to 12 weeks.  There was no time in the schedule to get to know one another since this project needed to be a sprint from beginning to end.  This team needed to Trust one another to get results fast.

I took the team to an old forested area strewn with branches, rocks, and thick undergrowth where the floor of the forest contained a layering of fallen leaves and pine needles. I assured the team that the most dangerous part of the day was now over – their commute to the forest. I further assured them that no serious harm would come about during the day with the Trust exercises I had planned. 

The participants were broken into pairs and given a blind fold.  One member of the pair was to be blindfolded and the sighted member was to create “an experience” for the one with the blind fold.  The range of Trust extended by the blindfolded member was astounding, from one pair at a complete standstill afraid to move, to another pair running at close to full speed.  When asked what went through the runner’s head, he replied that he implicitly Trusted the framework of the exercise to not harm him, and further believed that anyone on the team deserved to be Trusted, at least at the outset.  Think about the euphoria on his face from being able to run as a child while blindfolded with the freedom of not feeling threatened by harm. Now extend that freedom to your business or personal project to craft results with full confidence that risks taken would not cause professional harm. 

This exercise is symbolic of my leadership style that many of my colleagues will recognize.  I have a responsibility to create an environment where extending Trust enables creative and startling results, much like the runner felt in the Trust exercise.  I extend that Trust to my teams and clients to reap the benefits of thinking and crafting solutions outside of the norm that become differentiated solutions that delight my clients and create employee engagement. 

This paradigm is illustrated in the Velocity of Trust graphic.  The pivot point and frame for the gyroscope is my style of leadership, extending Trust upwards and inwards to my team and my clients.  

The rotational velocity of this Trust Gyroscope is a function of how tightly we Trust each other, close in or at arm’s length.  Extending Trust and bringing us closer together allows for a tighter and more streamlined gyroscope, much like the finale of an Olympic figure skater’s routine, creating a higher velocity, more stability, and ultimately more fulfillment in the velocity of Trust we generate. 

Just as a real gyroscope can be used to maintain orientation, the Trust equivalent keeps us oriented to our principles, values and ethics.  To borrow further from the laws of physics, Trust in Motion tends to Stay in Motion, resisting the forces of Distrust.  But this Trust Law can only work if we actively contribute to the Trust Rotation by extending Trust to each other. 

Orienteering is a running sport using a compass.  An organization running with Trust using the Trust Gyroscope for orientation will produce faster results, greater profit, and most importantly, active contribution to our collective Values, Principles, and Ethics.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/edbeckerprincetonnj

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 7, 2011 in LinkedIn, Trust

 

Tags: ,