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ASTD Survey: 40% of Global Team Underperform

May 25, 2010 1 comment

NEW YORK, NY – May 24, 2010 – According to a study released today, 80% of corporate managers work  virtually at least part of the time and 63% are members of global virtual teams. The key factors that impair productivity are: cultural differences, communication styles, time-zone differences, language and a lack of face-to-face contact, according to the Virtual Teams Survey Report 2010 – The Challenges of Working in Virtual Teams, conducted by RW3 CultureWizard, an intercultural training consultancy specializing in online intercultural training for global business managers.

Get the report from ASTD.

Posted by Kristin

Execution in a Whirlwind

March 25, 2010 1 comment

Good stuff from Franklin Covey on how to execute on goals. 

http://www.franklincovey.com/4dflv/4D_2Vid.html

Four Things Every Employee Wants to Know

October 16, 2009 Leave a comment

If you’re striving to be the best manager/coach/mentor/leader you can be, you don’t need to overcomplicate your life trying to achieve this.  All Things Workplace gives you four simple things to think about — and if you can do these for your employees, you’ll achieve your goals.

http://www.allthingsworkplace.com/2009/10/the-four-things-every-employee-wants-to-know.html

HOW do I improve my team’s productivity & engagement?

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve ranted before about “employee engagement” and how the buzz word drives me bonkers (see previous posts!). But even though I disagree with all the hype surrounding the “importance” of employee engagement, I do agree that it’s a vital ingredient for high-performing teams.

CEOs and company leaders are giving orders to “build employee engagement” in an effort to increase sales and profitability.

The question managers (ie: the people responsible for making that a reality) have is: HOW do we get more productive, engaged employees?

You increase productivity and employee engagement when you have good supervisors.  Productivity and engagement go hand-in-hand, and neither happen with a crappy supervisor. So what we need to do is put people in supervisory roles that have the aptitude to actually get the job done.  Here’s some criteria that define the characteristics of a supervisor that can manage high-performing teams.

Credit to Wally Bock — This is an excerpt from his article, “Not Enough Employee Engagement? Blame Your Boss“.

Does he or she like helping other people succeed? A supervisor’s job is to help the team and its members succeed.

Has he or she demonstrated a willingness to talk to others about employee engagement and performance? This is a key part of any supervisor’s job. We can give someone the tools to do it better, but we can’t make them willing to do it.

Has he or she demonstrated the willingness to make decisions and take responsibility for results? How many supervisors have you seen who simply don’t decide? They buck the issue up the chain. Or they decide not to decide. Or they dump the problem back in a team member’s lap, then walk away with their hands in the air.

We need to give them training in supervisory skills. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, less than 10 percent of training budgets are spent on first line supervisors. Most of that is spend on how to fill out forms and classes on prophylactic HR. That’s not good enough.

New supervisors need some training in basic role identification. They need skills training in communication and confrontation skills. And they need help understanding their transition.

We need to support them in their work. Support means more training. The transition period, which takes 12 to 18 months, is the time when lots of small training sessions are needed. New supervisors also need to identify role models and mentors and learn self-critique skills.

After that, some form of peer support is vital. That can be a formal program in a large company or a joint program among smaller companies. In many cases, mentors and coaches are part of the mix.

We need to help them develop. One of the great things about supervision is that there’s always something more to learn. We need to help bosses create development plans and then follow them. We need to provide resources and point them to more resources.

The best way to leverage employee engagement is to have an engaged boss. There are “great places to work” with “pockets of awfulness.” There are horrid slave ships with beacons of excellence.

~Kristin

KristinMeezHeadshot66x66

Handling a promotion | IT Leadership | TechRepublic.com

August 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Recently promoted and ready to make some changes

I was recently promoted and now oversee the team that I’ve been a part of for 3 years. I’m glad to have the opportunity and want to make some changes of responsibility to increase our overall results. Additionally I know this isn’t going to sit well with a couple of individuals who will feel that they’ve lost some of their power (which is true). I want these changes to be as well received as possible and don’t want to create a bunch of negativity which might have the opposite effect. Suggestions?

– Cheryl in Sarasota, CA

This kind of problem is my favorite, because it’s all about human beings, and it can be resolved quickly, unlike a profit shortfall or major technical failure, both of which would usually require a lot of money, time, and committee meetings.

There are many books on the topic of leadership, but they go in and out of fashion with the frequency of teen girls’ clothing trends. I rarely come across one with real “nuts and bolts” tips to help someone move smoothly into a new job, but I think Kenneth Blanchard’s Leadership and the One Minute Manager holds up well even 10 years after it was written. It may provide you with some inspiration.

In most management situations, a lot of the hassles can be avoided if the boss would just take some time to treat team members with a little dignity and empathy. Unfortunately, most bosses are not that mentally honest. They avoid having the “tough discussions” hoping that people will get over it. But, that just makes things worse.

I suggest that you deal with this potential issue head-on: That means laying the groundwork and doing some pro-active damage control before making the general announcement. Schedule a time to talk one-on-one with those who are going to lose some of their scope. Let them understand that it’s non negotiable, but that you still value them and want their suggestions about how they could make the best contributions going forward. You might be surprised with their suggestions; some may even be really good.

Importantly, by talking to them beforehand, you show that you’ve got leadership skills and aren’t afraid to face challenging issues. Others will hear about what you did, and it will reinforce your new role. You’ll feel good about how you dealt with it, which will make you stronger. It’s a circle-of-success thing.

Congratulations on the promotion Cheryl. And now, as you’ve realized, it’s time to show why you deserve this new leadership role.

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If you have a leadership question or need some advice on a leadership topic, email John at enews6@techrepublic.com with “Leadership Coach” as your subject line.

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion dollar organizations and launching start-ups in both the U.S. and Canada. The author of two published books, he is frequently seen providing advice on TV, in magazines, and newspapers.

Thanks for catching that error, Joe! We couldn’t do this without you!

Acknowledgement_of_AwesomenessWondering how you can motivate and engage your team, despite a lack of time and a dwindling budget? Showing appreciation is the #1 way to improve morale and drive results — and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

In the United States, The Gallup Organization has found disengaged employees cost the economy $300 billion a year whereas companies with higher employee engagement yield higher sales, higher productivity and higher retention than companies with low employee engagement (Baudville Day-to-Day Recognition White Paper).High Employee Engagement

Work days now are more jam-packed and go by faster than ever before; employees have more work, more pressure and less time.  So unfortunately, recognition often falls by the wayside.  Infrequent recognition won’t reinforce the behaviors you see occurring on a daily basis, and it’s hard to maintain momentum when your boss hasn’t told you that you’re on the right track, doing a great job, or provided you a needed boost.

Day-to-day recognition is defined as the genuine everyday expressions of appreciation given to reinforce and reward positive behaviors.

TheDimensionsOfRecognition

Today, recognition is more than just a pat on the back. It’s a means of giving feedback to employees about the job they’re doing.   In a recent Watson Wyatt survey, 66% of respondents said appreciation was a “very significant” motivator in the workplace.  All it takes is a small hand written note or a token of appreciation.

Recognition_Is_Motivation

Here’s some “on the cheap” ways to tell your employees you’ve noticed how awesome they are:

  • A hand-written note of “thanks”
  • Post that thank you note on the employee’s door
  • Create a Hall of Fame wall with photos of all your employees
  • Make a photo collage about a successful project that shows the people that worked on it, its stage of development and its completion and presentation
  • Plan a surprise picnic
  • Sponsor a “Super Hero” party (everyone wears a superhero costume) at the end of an assignment, for a job well done
  • Answer your assistant’s telephone for a day
  • Hold informal retreats to foster communication and set goals
  • Encourage and recognize staff who pursue continuing education
  • Swap a task with an employee for a day – his/her choice
  • Establish a “Behind the Scenes” award specifically for those whose actions are not usually in the limelight
  • Design a “Stress Support Kit” that included aspirin, a comedy cassette, wind up toys and a stress ball – or design your own
  • Present “State of the Department” reports periodically to your employees acknowledging the work and contributions of individuals and teams
  • If your team is under pressure, bring a bag of marbles to work and take a break to have a contest – a sure stress reliever
  • Serve ice cream sundaes to all of your employees at the end of a project
  • Have staff vote for top manager, supervisor, employee and rookie of the year
  • Give a shiny new penny for every helpful thought that is shared with the team
  • Send a letter to all team members at the conclusion of a project, thanking them for their participation
  • Give employees tokens of thanks from various recognition vendors, such as Baudville, Gifts for Professionals, Motivators, and Despair, Inc.

And many, many more!!  Give me a buzz if you want help creating a recognition program for your team, or if you just need some good ideas for getting your folks re-energized!

~Kristin

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Upcoming Webcast — Thursday, April 23

Strengths-Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow

Take Away Messages:

  • The most effective leaders are always investing in strengths.
  • The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and then maximize their team.
  • The most effective leaders understand their followers’ needs.