Personal Commitment is Always the Only Way to Drive Change

This article, about how EBay is making recruitment, retention, and promotion of women a strategic priority, is interesting once you get past the jargon, it illustrates a couple of points well:

  • personal commitment is the best, perhaps the only way, to drive change. Which means telling a personal, credible story about your own motivation. Which means being vulnerable, and that’s scary.
  • finding, keeping, and promoting the best available talent, no matter what the source and no matter what the size of your company, is a strategic advantage that raises the game for everybody
  • being a good ally means putting somebody else’s interests above your own with no expectation of reward
  • measurement and culture (how people treat each other) trumps policy and process
  • it’s also a good example of having one priority at a time (promoting women not the first thing the CEO John Donahoe tackled)

The only thing I’d add (and maybe they’re doing it already) from my experience in mentoring is finding a way for women to mentor each other. The best way to inspire somebody is for them to imagine they can do what you did.

In this case that means women mentoring women. And besides, mentoring is a great way to develop  leadership skills, identify those that can lead (because they mentor), and fill the leadership pipeline with people that know how to develop other leaders.

Just a suggestion, John, if you’re reading this…

 

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Focused Feedback

https://secure.flickr.com/photos/mikeriela/7611385110/
Focused Feedback: Timely and Specific

Some of us have met, or even worked for, the boss that thinks they’re great at giving feedback. The particular self-delusion I’m thinking of is the “Hey, great job” variety, perhaps even accompanied by a pointing / clicking gesture.

This kind of generic, blanket praise is nice, but also totally ineffective. Effective feedback needs to be focused.

By focused I mean actionable and timely. Tell them exactly what behaviour is good (or bad) so they now exactly what to repeat (or change), as soon as possible. Feedback is useless if the target of your feedback doesn’t know what to do with it. A general “good job – keep it up” is meaningless unless it’s tied to a recent, repeatable action.

For example: “Scott, you did a great job getting all those videos recorded before the start of the conference. Having that is going to make the conference so much better.”

One Discovery, Two Decisions

The best part of my job is working with, sharing, inspiring and being inspired by passionate, smart people. It turns my crank. I am lucky to have this life. I try to stop and be grateful when as often as I can.

I had one of those moments last week at breakfast with the Design4Change agency, Patricia Derbyshire of Mount Royal University, and Earnest Barbaric the social media strategist. Clarity came while we were talking marketing and career choices.

I believe we all have one discover and two choices we all have to make to gain mastery, be fulfilled, and be engaged in our work and our lives. There are things we all need to do in order to be successful in life, no matter how we define success. Here’s what I think those things are:

Discover What You’re Good At

This is one of those simple but not always easy to carry out concepts. It takes thought, focus, and self-awareness. We all enjoy something, we can all be good at something, we all need to master something. Being good and being recognized by others as being good, is the difference between thriving and merely surviving.

What are you good at? What makes time fly, leaves you energized instead of drained, or is fun for you? If you can’t think of anything, or you don’t get to do it very often, maybe it’s time for a change? Life is too short and hard already to spend it doing something that eats your soul instead of feeding it.

Figure out what that thing is, then  figure out how to make a living at it.

Choose Who You’re Going to Work With

Maslow got it wrong. The “social” need of his hierarchy is just as important as food and shelter.

People matter, and who you surround yourself with matters. Choose your friends and co-workers carefully. The biggest influence on a child’s life? Not their parents, but their friends. Want to raise good kids? Choose their friends  carefully.

Business success depends on the people you choose to hire (or not). Don’t waste your time with somebody who you wouldn’t enthusiastically rehire. It’s not worth it.

Choose to Keep Learning

You can learn and adapt by trial and error, or you can learn from others. Darwin didn’t say that survival would go to the fittest. He said it would go to the most adaptable. Those that learn also adapt and survive.

Get into the habit of reading, learning, and always always always trying to find ways to simplify and do things better. You could do it by trial and error, on your own, but that doesn’t seem very efficient does it?

I believe that these are the simple things that outstanding managers (and successful human beings) do well.

Question for the Comments:
What are the lifetime habits that help you succeed?

Other articles you may find interesting:
Eight Career Rules For My Teenage Daughter
Following Your Passion
Getting the Job You Want by Talking to the Right People

Bernie works as a leadership and business coach, consultant, and facilitator. He believes there are simple things outstanding leaders do well, and that not to do anything about bad leadership once you know about it is abuse. Check out what he does with RESULTS.com

Fire the Creeps and Bums

Fire the Creeps and Bums

Firing a non-productive or anti-social (in the destructive sense) member of a team actually increases the team’s productivity by 30 to 40%. That means that on a team size of 4, productivity will stay the same or get better even if you don’t replace them,  Yet your payroll drops by a quarter.

On a larger team then you’re making money by getting rid of the bully / degenerate  because of the bump to productivity. If they’re at the managerial or executive level your return on investment is even higher. The higher up in an organization the greater their impact, positive or negative.

Cost of a Bad Hire

If that doesn’t convince you then consider the cost of make a bad hire, or keeping them around. It starts at five times their annual salary and goes up from there, depending on their impact within the organization. Up to 27 times.

Too many leaders are afraid to replace, move, or let go somebody they know needs it. Perhaps they’re in a key position. Perhaps they’re a family member (tough one for sure). Perhaps they’re a loyal, long-term employee whose performance has dropped in recent years.

So decide now what’s best for the business and all the people in it. If you can’t do what’s right, maybe the problem is you.

Let the Facts Judge Them

I like John Spence’s approach as outlined in his book “Awesomely Simple“. You’ll need four sheets of paper: On the first one have thee employee write  what they believe is expected of them. It’s important that expectations are clear and agreed, and that they have agreed deadlines.

On the second they write what they need (training, staff, support, equipment) to accomplish what they’ve committed to. On the third what their reward should be if they accomplish their goals. On the fourth, what they believe the consequences of failure should be.

The key to this approach is regular (weekly) face-to-face review. Regular review is where accountability happens. We don’t need to judge our employees. Presenting the facts will do that for us.

What Took You So Long?

A common reaction when they finally do get asked to leave? “What took you so long?” Everybody else knows what needs to be done. Why don’t you?

What’s the hardest fire you’ve had to make? Do you have somebody you need to let go but just keep putting it off? Let us know in the comments.

How to Hire the Right People and Stop Hiring the Wrong Ones

hiringAccording to Brad Smart, the cost of making a hiring mistake is 5 to 27 times their annual salary. The higher up in the company they are, the more damage they can do. This means hiring the “right” people can make or break a company. If your company, no matter how big or small, doesn’t have a hiring strategy or plan, then you’re probably shooting yourself in the foot fairly regularly.

. . . and like anything else, the rate of change is accelerating. Inc. Magazine updates us on the New Rules of Hiring.

Most Important Leadership Trait – The Pattern of Business Success

John Spence wrote “Awesomely Simple”, currently one of my favourite business books. After doing the research, and putting that research together with freely available visualization tools from the Internet, he has now scientifically proven that communication, culture, and people are the most important things in business.

Good thing, because all the jobs with trees are taken.

The Pattern of Business Success