The Source of “Soft skills vs Hard skills” in Management Excellence

Daily Self-Coaching: For all of you who wanted to know where the “Soft skills and Hard Skills” idea came from don’t miss this historical summary by the management guru, Dr. Tom Peter’s. It first appeared in a HBR article and then was expanded in the award winning and ground breaking organizational and management effectiveness book In Search of Excellence. If you have not read this book it is a must read for all managers and leaders. You can download an e-book now. Below is a video where Dr. Peters asks, “If not excellence, what?” What else should you be doing with your time, your life? He agrees with Thomas Watson, Sr., the talented early leader of IBM, that you should make a personal commitment never again to do anything that is not excellent.

Part l: New Style of Leadership–Stop Negative workplace Virus and Bad Attitudes

“Little known fact 71% of workers think about quitting their jobs every day. What do we do to change this apparent virus sweeping our work place environments”?  

 We must become willing to admit that our way of leading and creating “quality of work” environments are simply not working. We are not creating the results or the quality of life that we would like for ourselves, associates and customers, These hectic and wired times are calling out for a new type of leader in organizations. This type of leadership is not based on position or status.  It is truly based on equality, respect and positive regard for everyone in the organization. At its core leadership is shared by everyone in the organization.     In this new leadership style we need everyone aligned with the vision and understand why we are in business–this is called the mission. The leaders must be willing to challenge the “status quo”, accept change as a natural state and realize that the so-called soft side of business is really the hard side. Mental maps of risk taking must be continually updated and failures must become learning experiences. This may sound foolish or a bit naive and yet many of the new and innovative companies accept and operate in this revolutionary way.

One thing is at the cornerstone of this leadership revolution—Constant growth and development through feedback. Most people are not consciously withholding feedback because they want to create a negative work place culture or reduce company morale. Often, they withhold feedback because they don’t know how or when and in what way to skillfully use the soft power of open and two-way communication tool called– feedback.. Also, many people are just uncomfortable confronting others on their “screw-ups, or failings. In other words, they lack the know-how and skills to conduct productive feedback sessions. There are some ways to take some of the suffering out of giving and receiving feedback.

First, we’ve got to start taking accountability for our individual roles in creating environments where “feedback” is not seen as a dirty word.  How can you help?  Try practicing a few of the following behaviors of the new leadership style:

The revolution begins with a few change agents practicing Reality-Based Feedback. Reality based feedback expands on the ideas of William Glasser M.D.  from the therapy couch to workplace interactions and conversations

1. A reality based leader or coach is one who is self-aware, open, flexible and authentic. DWYSYWD is the foundation of their leadership and management philosophy. They are able to quickly read others and accept the reality of a situation. These new leaders are sensitive and understand others needs ( high on empathy) by confronting in a caring way reality and truth. This directness preserves valuable time and energy trying to fix blame or uncover the truth behind excuses for not doing things right or choosing the wrong things to work on. It conserves precious team energy, and uses that energy instead to be more productive and efficient in working on priorities and creating a better quality of work life (QWL).

2.  Better yet, a Reality-based Leader anticipates the upcoming changes and capitalizes on the opportunity inherent in the situation without drama or defense.

3. This new type of leader uses feedback to address pinches in expectations and issues early and often.

Besides poor communication I think the lack of feedback is the root cause of many employee’s attitude issues.  Sharing feedback early and often takes some of the pain out of the situation that year performance reviews rarely do.  Timely feedback is a critical component of achieving success on an individual, team and organization levels.

Understand that giving feedback does not mean being ugly, mean, or an“I gotcha you asshole” attitude.  Under the mask of being “nice” leaders, teams and organizations all over the country are missing opportunities to increase responsibility for decisions and actions by withholding caring feedback and covering-up emotional pinches.  Feedback is a critical component for growth, development, and individual satisfaction with their job. The lack of feedback is also impacting the organizational culture and growth by causing interpersonal conflict and many “soap opera” dramas. Thus, an unhealthy climate on a cost-benefit analysis basis could be costing a decrease in motivation, loss of valuable time, energy and profits for your organization.

You want great business results?  Regular performance conversations are a part of that equation.  If you are not getting good feedback, ask for it.  Occasionally, ask people what things you should stop doing, start doing or continue doing.  If you are one of the vast majorities of people who dislike giving feedback, stop withholding this valuable information and learn how to give and receive it. If you are defensive when someone shares feedback with you, grow up and be a professional.  Feedback is simply another persons’ opinion of your work habits and performance.  Try not to take it personally. And as always stop judging and start listening for ways to be supportive and helpful. If these things are tried I guarantee the quality of work and the attitudes toward jobs will significantly improve.

Want more on the topic of Motivation checkout the history of motivation and job satisfaction. While on this site do not miss one of my favored models of motivation and job enrichment design developed by Hackman and Oldham’s. Their Job Characteristics Model looks at some very important factors of autonomy, skill development, and clear goal-setting as a way of increasing positive motivation for doing a job an outstanding way. Their model also identifies several other aspects of job design – such as feedback and feeling that one’s work is meaningful –  which could also affect workers’ level of satisfaction.

Part II –Team Meetings: Focus and Understanding Individual Needs of Members

In Part I of this series on Meeting Effectiveness , I shared some ideas about how important it is to maintain and build the group as a whole by understanding the Maintenance Needs of the team. In this post, I want to review a different type of team need that can make or break your team’s effectiveness–Individual Needs of team members.  

Obviously, any group is made-up of two or more individual persons. These persons have their own individual needs. Your individual personality preferences, life experiences, genetic and neurological make-up and in particular positive and negative experience of  working in teams drive members behavior. These individual needs drive the type of communication,  interaction, and roles members play when the team comes together to work on tasks. These needs must be identified and satisfied before a productive and satisfying meeting can take place.  Most team members consciously or unconsciously require different needs to be met. These needs are recognition, status, control,  autonomy, security, belonging, affection, acceptance, etc. The list can go on and on. The nature of human circumstances  and life in general determine a person’s particular needs at any given moment in the life of the team. All of us at any given time might need more recognition, a sense of belonging or control.

Let’s say in a given team Bill will need many of these things. For many reasons, he may also need to a leader on a particular topic under discussion; he may need to liked and feel like he belongs; he may feel a need to impress one particular person in the group. The kind of needs he expresses are a direct result of his particular circumstance, brain functioning and  perception of gain or loss by being a member of this group. At this point you might being saying: ” I get it that everyone has needs but how do you use this information to improve team meetings and produce recommendations for the task we were assigned to work on? For part of my answer, I want to introduce you to an emerging field in behavioral and team management–cognitive brain research. This new research about how to apply brain research to improve human performance, develop effective teams and drive change is being conducted by Dr. David Rock and his associates at the NeroLeadership Institute.   In a recent interview, with the NY Times, Dr. Rock describes the importance of new brain research model called the SCARF theory by saying ” it is crucial for managers to make their employees feel they are on the same team.”  The SCARF model provides a structure for analyzing what motivates our social interaction and behavior at work. The SCARF  acronym stands for Status, Control, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.  To see more read about Dr. Rocks research click on this link to the NeuroLeadership Institute webpage.

Since, we have covered maintenance needs and individual needs in teams my next post will focus on task needs and roles people might play  and how to use this information to improve team meetings. Thanks Coach Mark

Are Leaders Born or Made? Focus on Emotional Intelligence

Are Leaders Born or Made?

Some evidence to help shape and challenge your thinking

In a award winning 1998 HBR article by Goleman, the Father of Emotional Intelligence, laid out many of the answers for the often asked question –Are Leader’s born or made?  

In his research and study of many large, complex and global companies, he found that while the qualities traditionally associated with leadership—such as intelligence, inspiration, toughness, determination, and vision—are required for success, they are insufficient to describe the total picture of what makes a great leader. Truly effective leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.

These qualities may sound “soft” and not “hard” business analytics”, but Goleman found direct ties between emotional intelligence and measurable business results. While emotional intelligence’s relevance to business has continued to spark debate over the past 15 years, Goleman’s article remains the definitive reference on the subject, with a description of each component of emotional intelligence and a detailed discussion of how to recognize it in potential leaders, how and why it connects to performance, and how it can be learned. It also remains top of my mind because when I understand that emotions and feelings enrich our lives it motivates me to learn as much as I can about myself and interactions with others. EI provides me with the opportunity to see life as an opportunity to grow and develop. I am motivated to risk and be curious about what I don’t know about the human condition.  As a result I become stronger in the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical spheres of my life because I am inspired to put “continuous” learning at the center of my life rather than living in the past or fearful of the future.

I truly believe what Bertrand Russel, a great American philosopher said. To paraphrase his thoughts and idea: Most people would rather go through life “sleep walking” and not thinking about the important work of thinking deeply, problem solving and taking constructive action about the things they value most in life. Remember there are many things we can influence and control in life and there are also things we can’t; knowing the difference and choosing to do something about creating a life on purpose and with meaning is in our hands.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Work and the Principle of Meaning

Daily Quote and Reflection: It is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. -Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great

Reflection: Have you ever contemplated what is the difference between work and play? Many people when ask to do this reflection say to me –work is work. It doesn’t have anything to do with play. Maybe maybe not I reply. I say what about organizations like  Southwest Airlines (Fun LUVing attitude not just words but real action in creating a family atmosphere and support programs to make communities a better place to live and work. The attitude is made-up of these principles–

  • Have FUN
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Maintain perspective
  • Celebrate successes
  • Enjoy your work
  • Be a passionate Teamplayer

The essence of work at Southwest Airlines  is  doing good while having fun. Of course there are many other organizations embracing this philosophy of meaning and fun at work like Tom’s of Maine, Zappos, and Patagonia who’s mission is to: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis..

Let’s brainstorm for a second the characteristics of work vs. play. Work conjectures up characteristics and thoughts of : required activity, pay for results or services, to survive and put a roof over your head, paid to do it, have to, sweat, challenge, bosses, be told what to do and how to do it, how to behave, command and control, schedules, boring, supervision, structured routine, time pressure etc… vs Play– want to, engaged, spontaneity, fun, freedom to choose, smiles, do it because I love the activity, enjoy the people playing with me, time is mine, etc…

So the question becomes how do we put more fun and meaning into work?

Exercise on Interpersonal Conflict: How to control frustrations and anger to solve problems


“If we don’t change the direction we are going, we are likely to end up where we are heading.” – Chinese Proverb

Of the three basic emotions that lead to poor productivity and interpersonal flare-ups —disappointment, frustration and fear—frustration leading to anger is the most destructive. Your particular situation may involve enormous frustrations and disappointments with others or yourself.  (“I needed to find better ways to handle Danny’s tantrums before I create a never-ending battle of the wills.” Darn him for always having a melt down when I need his cooperation.”) or enormous self-anger (“Why, why, why can’t I be a better Dad when things are not going well with the kids; m expected reaction just raises the temperature and sets him off. I really hurt our relationship when I get anger.” Whatever the proportions, some feel frustrated guilty but resist letting the situation escalate to anger, shouting and demanding; others acknowledge their frustration and inability to handle the situation but feel “stuck” in same old patterns.. Most of these regrets get you stuck in unproductive perseverance.

Considering frustration and anger separately makes both more useful. Right now, think of something or someone you are frustrated with… With that situation or person in mind, finish this sentence: “I’m frustrated that __________.” Repeat the exercise until you run out of frustrations and things related to that person or situation. For example, if you are  frustrated with a building contractor not finishing on time or making major errors on the project, you might say, “I’m frustrated and extremely disappointed that I have to stay on top of every piece of this remodeling project or it doesn’t get done on budget or in a timely manner. I’m angry that I chose such an incompetent builder and that this project is taking up all my time and energy. ” So this first exercise gets at the root causes for the frustrations.

Now that you have fully itemized the causes for the frustrations make another list of possible solutions needed to be implemented to solve the causes. In this part 2 of the exercise begin each sentence with the phrase, “I’m frustrated and angry at ________ because________ and I want to resolve this by _____________” For example, “I’m angry at Bill, the builder,  because of the cost and time over runs and I want to solve this by instituting a daily meeting to set priorities and action items for completion. To ensure we stay on task I am immediately bringing in a new supervisor for the project.” I’m sad about the need for this tight structure and supervision and the finger-pointing and blame game that has been going on” Write down the solution based  on your identification of the causes for the frustrations and anger about the personnel and situation.

Underneath frustrations is the feeling of disappointment when looking back at what we could have done. It does have a piece of self-loathing. Also, anger for what took place or is still happening. Try learning the lessons the experience is teaching you now rather than looking back and obsessively contemplating what could have been. Reflecting on Warren Buffet’s view of looking back may help you put frustrations and disappointments in perspective–”I never look back. I figure there is so much to look forward to that there is no sense thinking of what I might have done. It just doesn’t make any difference. You can only live life forward.”  So as you think about your frustrations right now–If you had the opportunity for a “do over” what would you do differently? What can you do now to correct the situation or put the project back on track?

Finally, remember that you need to focus on living and working fully and intensely in the present, with minimal infringement from the past failures or miscues to solve this problem and improve productively and enable others on the team to do their best work.

Business Development Architecture:A Model based on Messaging

The goal for successful sales interactions is to understand the customer needs and help them differentiated their services or products in unique ways and provide value that can be evaluated against a consistent  and tangible criteria.   Over the years I have been in the business of designing an effective Sales Architecture called a “structure with process” for business development. This model is dependent on designing a message that is grounded. compelling and believable. In this blog I will outline the stages you need to follow in building a “sticky” and effective ” Business Develoment Architecture”.

Business Development Architecture–Stages of Message Development   

Stage 1. Message gathering intelligence and information

Stage2. Message design and structuring

Stage 3. Message implementation

Stage 4. Message Evaluation

In the next blog I will flush-out the definition and details of this Business Development Architecture.

Fact: 80% of employees not involved or engaged at work. Want to change this situation?

In the past I have blogged about the chain for success in motivating and creating engaged employees. I have used SAS, rated last year as number one or best place to work and Whole Foods as models because they pay a living wage above their peer group, individual opportunities for growth through education and training and create pleasant, safe and involved workplaces. The results show if employees are treated fairly and with respect then customers will be satisfied and beat a path to their door. I have ask you to reflect on what a great workplace would be like and you respond with replies that essentially follow some of the elements Tony Schwartz in a recent HBR article. I think Mr.Schwartz has it right and wanted to share some of his observations and insights. He and other researchers have found  — That only 20 per cent of employees around the world report their excited and fully engaged at work. This group sees work as a “want to” not as a “have to”.  This 80/20 gap has important significance for workers, company and especially customers.  Mr. Schwartz says “It’s a disconnect that serves no one well. So what’s the solution? Where is the win-win for employers and employees? The answer is that great employers must shift the focus from trying to get more out of people, to investing more in them by addressing their four core needs — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual — so they’re freed, fueled and inspired to bring the best of themselves to work every day.” He identifies 12 elements for successful workplace that engages and respects employees. For example he talks about sharing the wealth and rewards of profitability with all stakeholders. This element would say to employees we ar all in this venture together “Give all employees a stake in the company’s success, in the form of profit-sharing, or stock options, or bonuses tied to performance. If the company does well, all employees should share in the success, in meaningful ways.” He cites  11 other elements that lend credence to his theory of how to go about creating a win-win environment for all. In this article you are provided with a standard to measure your company against. So get busy seeing if your company passes the test of employee engagement and if you are in a position of influence start thinking about what needs to be changed in your workplace to create an environment that gets everyone engaged and supportive of the organizations mission and vision. .

Is there a Group Intelligence Factor and Does it make a difference in Problem Solving?

Quote: “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. The achievements of a team are the results of the combined effort of each individual” Vincent Lombardi

For many years there has been an explosion of using teams to increase productivity from software conversion projects to employee problem solving and innovation. Many questions remain about how and why teams are successful and why other task forces or teams fail. For some researchers it is all about team make-up and group dynamics. Many questions remain that need answers. One important experiment was recently completed by Anita Woolley at Carnegie Mellon University to examine if there is  general intelligence in teams. The results of the research suggest that “individual brainpower contributes little to collective team smarts as measured by their ability to solve problems.  Dr. Woolly was motivated to conduct these studies because she felt there is a lack  of agreed to  criterion in predicting which groups will perform well and which won’t. Addition she wanted to test she the hypothesis of whether groups behave as individuals in having the  an underlying factor (intelligence) that seems to drive how individuals perform in multiple situations and different cognitive domains. 

To determine whether something similar also operated in collective minds, Woolley’s team divided 600 test subjects into groups of two to five people, then had each group complete a variety of problem-solving tasks. Afterward the researchers interviewed the groups and each participant. They measured group cohesion and motivation, individual intelligence and personality, and other factors previously associated with group performance. Their analysis was reviewed in Wired Science which reported that researchers found several characteristics linked to group performance — and none involved individual intelligence. What mattered instead was the social sensitivity of individual members, the proportion of women (who tend to be more sensitive) in each group, and a balanced participation of interaction and “air time” for conversing and discussing the problem to be solved and appropriate solutions.  Gender and social sensitivity are linked, said Woolley, making emotional intelligence and conversation balance the most important factors in group performance. Not only was individual intelligence irrelevant, but group cohesion mattered little. Neither did motivation or happiness — a finding that most workers would find disconcerting.

The results for the study are not that surprising for team leaders and experienced facilitators-it’s emotional intelligence and social awareness — the ability to pick up on emotional cues in others — that seems to determine how effective and smart a group can be. What do you think ? Does this research square with your experience? Let us know your thoughts.


Daily Quote and Reflection: Why Trust begins with Yourself and other observations

Quote:  Emerson once said: “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great”

Reflection: Emerson was talking about how to learn to trust, connect with others and build loyalty. His point of view is that trust doesn’t start with the other person, but begins by looking in the mirror and deciding what it takes for you to trust others. Do you give trust away automatically or do you make the person earn your trust? Do you expect great things from others or just wait for them to screw-up and then remove trust?  Essentially, Emerson is talking about how to connect emotionally with others. He is expressing his belief that in order to build an effective relationship we must start with trusting others. Trust needs to be demonstrated through your behavior not just by mouthing the words to others.  As I reflect on my own experiences in building an effective team I think trust is the cornerstone for creating a climate that accelerates cooperative working and building together the behaviors that support effective and efficient teamwork. 

If your team individually and collectively is supportive of others and respectful you can build on this positive climate to create the potential for team synergy (1+1 =3. In building synergy you tap the energy and commitment for the team  to reach way beyond what any one individual could accomplish by themselves. Effective and synergistic team members are shown to stretch way beyond what is expected by being engaged in both work and personal issues to achieve organization goals. Trust like this reduces defensiveness and unhealthy competition so that you team can produce spectacular and high levels of satisfaction for themselves and clients or peers they work with.  This respectful approach of giving trust away reduces individual insecurities and opens the door for maximizing possibilities. Your expectations and ability to trust will great enormous energy and self-belief in others and after growing in this positive environment, they’ll not only believe and trust you, they will prove to themselves that they can accomplish more than they thought they could. I think Emerson is coining the idea of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy (SFP) before Robert Merton, social psychologist, identified and labeled the power of this concept to influence and motivate people to be the best they can be no matter the stress or situation they find themselves in.

Are you missing out on how to sell your services or products? Learn The Secret to Selling…

Do your sales people’s conversations enable them to stand out from the crowd – and explain to your prospects why you are distinctively different, and worthy of their consideration? If not, you should be aware that your sales people’s ability to conduct compelling conversations influences B2B buying decisions more than any of the other factors – brand, product or price – combined.

Your most natural salespeople – usually the top performers -have a particular talent for earning the trust of their prospects. They do it by sharing valuable information and by telling compelling, credible stories that make the listener respect their expertise and want to learn more. But the power of compelling conversation does not have to be restricted to the gifted few.

What if you could capture this capability and share the skills with your whole sales team? What if you could equip them to have engaging and stimulating conversations?  The good news is that the “gift of trusted conversationalist can be taught. The answer is to develop compelling stories that can be shared with potential customers and clients.  We’ve proved it time after time.  All the average sales person needs is a little help, the necessary resources – and the right attitude.

We’ll work with you to identify your most meaningful messages and capture your most compelling sales stories.  We do this through a combination of interactive workshops with your most gifted sales people (we can usually find some on every sales team) and the lessons learned from voice of the customer interviews. We’ll help you say something different, remarkable and meaningful – and enable you to stand out from the crowd. Storytelling is the new differentiator. Facts and figures, specifications and price all still matter, for certain. But it takes stories to connect with customers on an emotional level. The motivation to choose one brand over another – when the choices are endless – is triggered by emotion. More on next blog about how to connect through emotion and tips for collecting and developing your stories.

Want to make Meetings more fun and productive?–Try tapping your “flow”experience.

“Being able to enter flow is emotional intelligence at its best; flow represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performance and learning. In flow the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand.” Dr. Goldman, Emotional Intelligence

Participants want the meeting leader to honor their knowledge and experience. And above all answer the WIIFM  question-What Is In it for me to listen and care about about what this presenter has to say. To keep their attention and create a more satisfying experience I recommend you incorporate some of the Flow principles into your next meeting.

Next time you want to make your meetings meetings snap,crackle and pop I suggest looking at the research done by Dr. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi of the University of Chicago. According to Mihaly “Flow ” is the mental state in which a person is involved in  an activity and  is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.  The Flow process has been  widely referenced across a variety of fields from manufacturing to medicine. So my goal is to challenge you to try out the Flow principles for your next meeting.

So why might  meetings conducted using flow principles more satisfying to flow leaders and participants? Well, they get to be engaged, which is often seen as fulfilling and fun. They get to be listened too. They get to draw people out.  They get to decide what happens next. They get to think on their feet, to rise to the occasion, and to surprise themselves with their “flashes of brilliance” and competence.

Milhaly identifies the following key attributes of the flow or fun experience:

  • Clear goals and feedback
  • A challenging activity that requires skill and know how.
  • The merging of experience, awareness and action
  • Concentration on the task at hand
  • The loss of self-consciousness through focus on an important goal and task
  • The time passes fast

Let’s look in more depth at Csiksentmihalyi’s list, we see that yes, something very much like flow is taking place in satisfying and effective meetings.. Thinking on their feet, surprising themselves with their competence, feeling challenged, using their skills, intensely aware and actively engaged, focused, unselfconscious, and blissfully unaware of how long they’ve been interacting. Continue reading “Want to make Meetings more fun and productive?–Try tapping your “flow”experience.”

Power of Courage and Connections –Secret to Love,Worth and Meaning in Life

“In order for connections to happen we must be vulnerable and show our true selfs to others. ” Dr. Beren Brown

I recently came across an outstanding talk by Dr. Berne Brown at TED.  She talks about the power of being connected, vulnerable, courageous and whole heartiness. What make people vulnerable is what makes people beautiful and happy. To find meaning we need the  ability to empathize, belong, love.  This is humorous talk by a truly authentic person.  She shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. Her insight about  shame and vulnerability answer many questions on the meaning in life and joy of life. I think here concept of how we try to avoid pain through denial and by numbing  our emotions can be a real break through. My take away is that we are all worthy of love and worth. Tweet or respond to this video by telling me your definition of vulnerability and how you handle it. Enjoy.

Want to understand communication “Blind Spots” –Take the Presentation Style Index.

“Whatever strengthens and purifies thinking, ignites the imagination and adds knowledge  about who we are, is useful and necessary for individual growth. “ Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

Presentation effectiveness is all about helping people learn how to connect and communicate with others, starting with ourselves.  Committing to self-understanding and awareness is challenging and risky.  No one else can do it for you.  There are many ways to find out more about your preferences, strengths and areas for improvement.  You can pay more attention to informal/formal feedback from others, access your core personality attributes, seek understanding through trying different life experiences and challenges and seek insight through assessment instruments like the Presentation Style Index (PSI).

Why do many of us know more about our favorite sports team or our next car, than who we are and how our communications are experienced by others? Generally, it is because we do not seek feedback.  We assume that what we have been doing brings us success so there is no need for improvement. This indicates that you might be living in denial, contentment, confusion or fear about learning how you come across to others.

Taking responsibility for our choices and being responsible for life is no small task.  This ownership begins with self-understanding.  In taking the Presentation Style Index (PSI) we encourage you to examine what you say and do.  This knowledge provides information to gauge your impact on others and then own the responsibility for changing those things needing improvement.  Many have said we develop our communication effectiveness by understanding our strengths and managing our weaknesses, so let’s get started on exploring and finding out that unique person –you, your presentation style and how it impacts others. Continue reading “Want to understand communication “Blind Spots” –Take the Presentation Style Index.”

How to Create Satisfied and Loyal employees? SAS named #1 as BEST place to work

“SAS starts with the belief that we are in the business of people – whether that is with customers, employees or business contacts.—Jim Goodnight CEO, SAS

The management cure for low productivity is typically to push workers harder. Unfortunately, the side effects of crushed morale and decreased job satisfaction can have the opposite effect. There is another way. Build a great climate to work in. Treat people with dignity and respect. To me it is in the aligning of values and in the doing that we create and sustain satisfied employee.  A prime example, is SAS, named the #1 company to work for in the US by Fortune. As the CEO Jim Goodnight of SAS says, ” the wonder isn’t that his company is so generous, but why other presumably rational corporations are not.” Academicians confirm that SAS policies and organizational climate augment creativity, reduce distraction, and foster intense loyalty — even though SAS isn’t known for paying the highest salaries in its field and even though there are no stock options.

Continue reading “How to Create Satisfied and Loyal employees? SAS named #1 as BEST place to work”

Rule of Alignment: Secret for Creating and Sustaining Meaning at Work and Life.

“Without the joy, we can rarely have the courage, energy, passion and enthusiasm to achieve the things that make our work and life meaningful. The secret is to get the values, beliefs, and incentives aligned with the behaviors and actions we want.”  Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

The management cure for low productivity is typically to push workers harder. Unfortunately, the side effects of crushed morale and decreased job satisfaction can have the opposite effect. There is another way. Build a great climate to work in. Treat people with dignity and respect.Here’s how.

The Problem:

If it feels like you’ve been working harder but enjoying it less, there’s a good chance it’s true. According to USA Today, a MetLife study recently released shows that companies are increasing productivity demands on their employees: 40 percent of employees surveyed reported an increase in workload over the past year, while 36 percent of employers said they indeed were placing a higher priority on productivity.

That comes as no surprise when most companies have cut back to boost their bottom line in the recession.

Now, couple that with a Conference Board survey released in January that found only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work. That’s the lowest job satisfaction number in the survey’s 22 years.

So companies are trying to do more with less and employees are feeling it, and not in a good way. Dis-satisfaction, low morale and anxiety are puhing us to a lower standard of

I admit that it takes courage and commitment to find and continue to practice the alignment rule. Finding meaning at work and in life is a never-ending challenge for some people. There is no such thing as a permanent and lasting fulfillment or success in life. It is a journey and an adventure not a destination.  Without joy and passion it is difficult to sustain the motivation and energy to obtain the meaning you are after at work or in life. To me it is in the doing that we create and sustain a meaningful and constructive life. A prime example, is SAS, named the #1 company to work for in the US by Fortune. As the CEO of SAS says, ” the wonder isn’t that his company is so generous, but why other presumably rational corporations are not.” Academicians confirm that SAS policies and organizational climate augment creativity, reduce distraction, and foster intense loyalty — even though SAS isn’t known for paying the highest salaries in its field and even though there are no stock options.

Question for growth– As a CEO or small buiness owner what are the five things you are doing to create a meaningful and fun environment that creates loyalty and highly satisfied workers?