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Emerging Trends

How To Gain Buy-In From Your Team

When my daughter was in elementary school I chaperoned a group of second-graders on a field trip to the ArtPrize exhibition in downtown Grand Rapids. Picture this: ten 8-year-olds, excitedly dashing around parks and gardens, in and out of exhibition buildings. They were so excited to experience the art displayed throughout our city. Naturally, their first impulse was to run. And touch. And cross streets without supervision. Their enthusiasm was beautiful. The chaos it created was exhausting. As their field trip leader, I was constantly balancing the twin needs of safety and exploration. When getting ready to enter a building or cross the street, I’d instruct, “Blue team, line up! Green team, line up!” and they would do so, but only until the next amazing new sculpture (“Look, a dragon made out of pop cans!”) presented itself. Getting people to line up— whether it’s a group of second-graders or a team of colleagues— can be challenging. Why Is Team Buy In Important? Team buy in is important to any change you want to make or idea you’d like …

Want Great Ideas from a Team? Flip the Script

When you lead a team, great ideas are the lifeblood of innovation and productivity. Let’s say you have an idea that you’d like to toss out to your team. How can you get the folks to speak up and help you discern the idea’s viability? Nobody wants to waste time on a stinker of an idea. Here’s a process from business executive Bob Richards, who has been a long time client of the People Equation. Bob says when he’s leading an ideation discussion (whether it’s his direct team, a cross-functional team, or a board of directors), he enacts the following process to surface great ideas from a team. He starts in an unlikely place: ask them to say why an idea won’t work. A Simple Process for Fully Exploring Ideas with Teams Put an idea on the table. Ask the team to list all the reasons why the idea won’t work. List them. After you list all the “reasons it won’t work” ideas, flip the script. Ask the team to list all the benefits of the idea. List those.Compare and …

Effective Meeting Leaders Set the Right Expectations

People hate meetings. This is not earth-shattering news. Many of the complaints are legit: meetings are unfocused, too long, or unnecessary. Some of the complaints are humorous (but still true.) One of the lesser-mentioned reasons that merits consideration is meeting purpose. People get frustrated with meetings because they are unclear about expectations surrounding the the reason for the meeting. If meeting leaders did a better job of setting the right expectations about the meeting, there would be less irritation from meeting participants. Setting Meeting Expectations: Two Types of Process When you plan the agenda (you do have an agenda, right?) for your next meeting ask yourself as the meeting leader, do you expect participants to expand possibilities, or to come to closure? The answer to that question will help you, as the meeting leader, set the proper expectations. It will also drive the process you use to meet that expectation. If the primary purpose of the meeting is to expand possibilities, then the recommended process is a “Divergent” type of meeting discussion because you are seeking a fluid, dynamic …

Leveraging People Analytics for Your Human Capital Disclosures

The SEC’s human capital disclosures mandate has reinforced the need for people analytics teams and tools for public-facing companies. To create a compelling story about your people in relation to business success, leverage metrics to boost the credibility of your story. This data is essential to providing sufficient disclosures. Learning how to effectively acquire and share this data with the right people is critical to elevating your role in business success. …

How Shutting Up Can Make You a Thought Leader

Who do you consider to be influential thought-leaders in your organization? Is it the talkative people who contribute incessantly? No, these non-stop talkers probably don’t have your deep respect.  More likely, it’s those who temper their talking and have a give-and-take approach to interpersonal communication. Those who can “read the room” and adjust when to speak (and how much to contribute) are those who are seen as thought-leaders at work. Why Can’t People Shut Up at Work? If silence is indeed golden, why are some people so compelled to get their share of “air space”? Maybe it’s arrogance – “I’m super-smart and my ideas are awesome.” Or, is it clueless ignorance – “I’m unaware of the impact I’m having by blathering on and on . . ” Then again, maybe it’s a lack of confidence – “I just need to get my spiel out before my nervousness gets the best of me.” Here are thoughts for folks who want to stay silent, but struggle to do so. Do you recognize these three silence-challenged scenarios? The Brainiac Let’s say …

Leadership and Being a Role Model – 20 Ideas

Humanitarian and Nobel Prize-winning physician Albert Schweitzer famously observed, “Example is leadership.” At some point in our life, a leadership opportunity appears. Many of us are parents, teachers, coaches, managers and committee leaders.  As such, we know that being a role model is an important part of leadership. But it’s not always easy. There are role modeling saboteurs lurking, ready to thwart our best intentions to set a good example. And, if you’re a leader of leaders, the ante is upped because new leaders emulate their bosses. Want to inspire the people you lead? Here are quotes about setting a good example and being a positive role model. Quotes About Being a Role Model “Being a role model is about being true to myself.” ― Idina Menzel “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” ― James Baldwin “Find someone who has a life that you want and figure out how they got it. Read books, pick your role models wisely. Find out what they did and …

Drive Engagement with Powerful Employee Survey Tools

Surveys help you get to the heart of the employee experience at your organization. The better you understand your people, the better you can take action that boosts performance and meets your employees where they are. But if you want to drive engagement, you need more than just a batch of questions and an email list. A strong employee survey strategy must include the tools to execute.   …

How To Accept an Apology at Work

Has anyone ever said anything to you at work that was really hurtful or snarky? It’s an experience we can all relate to. Sometimes it’s an intentional slight or power-play. But here’s the thing. More often, it’s an unplanned quip and your colleague wishes they could take it back. There are a couple of different ways you can go when this happens. Personally, I advise going the civilized route—if they apologize, accept. Accepting apologies at work is a good “people equation” skill to master because it maintains relationships and enhances your professionalism.  Professionals Accept Apologies Graciously If you act graciously when you’re on the receiving end of a colleague’s blunder, you maintain your professionalism. I’m not talking about allowing someone to treat you poorly — such as intentional snide comments, tirades or any form of workplace bullying. That’s a different topic altogether and not acceptable behavior. Period.No, I’m talking about those times when someone tried to be funny, but wasn’t.  Or, their attempt at edgy repartee came out sounding mean.  Or any number of other things that get …

What’s Your Leadership Trust Building POV?

When I was sixteen, my family moved across the state. It was the first time we’d ever moved; it was a leap of faith on my parents’ part that we would all adjust to our new surroundings. Luckily, I made friends fairly quickly and established a typical teen social life which included going out with my new-found friends to movies, school dances and high school sporting events. Whenever friends would come into my house before we went out for the night, they would invariably have one question: “What time is Jenni’s curfew?” My parents would reply, “She doesn’t have one.” My friends were shocked. No curfew?! How could this be? “We trust her to make a good decision” my parents would say with a smile. And it was true—they did trust me. And guess what? I rarely broke curfew. Life Experiences Shape Our Views on Trust Now that I’m a parent, I have come to realize how truly remarkable my parents’ stance on curfews-in-a-new-city was. The trust they placed in me with this issue—and many others—when I was …