Quick Decision-Making for Introverts

Quick Decision-Making for Introverts

Leadership Blog

My leadership blog is all about helping current and emerging leaders learn how to transform difficult conversations and dysfunctional workplace relationships into positive and productive ones.

Brie Barker


/
If you’re more introverted than extroverted, making decisions with speed is something you’re not likely known for around the office.

/

It doesn’t come naturally to you and if you’re pressed to make a quick decision, you probably find it quite stressful.

/

Well, if you’re a current or emerging leader who falls on the introvert side of the spectrum, I’ve got some good news and some bad news …

/

The Bad News

/

HBR - What Great CEOs Do Differently

Click image for full article.

In 2017, Harvard Business Review published their findings from the CEO Genome Project:
This 10-year study showed there are four specific behaviours that are critical to high-performing CEOs and C-suite executives.
One of the behaviours is Deciding with Speed and Conviction.

/

The Good News

/
Today, I’m going to offer some thoughts and tips to help introverts get better at and more comfortable with the first element of this behaviour:
 

/


/

What the Study Found

/
I imagine this tells you why quick decision-making is an important skill to develop:

/

“High-performing CEOs do not necessarily stand out for making great decisions all the time; rather, they stand out for being more decisive.
They make decisions earlier, faster, and with greater conviction.
They do so consistently—even amid ambiguity, with incomplete information, and in unfamiliar domains.
In our data, people who were described as “decisive” were 12 times more likely to be high-performing CEOs.”

/


/

The Introvert’s Struggle

/
There are some common traits of introverts that speak to why many have difficulty making decisions with speed .
/
Introverts:

/

  • are comprehensive thinkers,
  • like to know and understand all of the details of something,
  • like to have alone-time to process things, and
  • believe that making sound decisions comes from assessing all relevant data.
/
All of this takes time!
/
Something a colleague/friend of mine firmly believed was this: perfection is the enemy of good enough.
/
The natural response to this statement from extroverts and introverts would be different:

/

Extroverts:
“Yes!  Make a decision so we can start moving on this.”

/

Introverts:
“Good enough isn’t good enough.  What if it’s the wrong decision?”
/
Which brings us to …

/


/

Tips for Introverts:

/
Guess what?
/
There’s a lot of information out there to support the notion that you don’t always need to know and understand all of the data that relates to a decision you need to make in order to make the right decision.

/


/

Tip #1

Honour your need for data by examining the data that will lead you to being more comfortable in making quicker decisions.

/
Here are two books on this to get you started:

/

Blink - Malcolm Gladwell - Chapters.ca

Think Fast - Guy A. Hale - Chapters.ca

/


/

Tip #2

Follow a set process to help you make decisions more quickly.

/
Here’s one you can use:
/
1.  “I need to decide __________.
2.  “I need to make this decision by [DATE] because [REASON].”
3.  “Here’s what I absolutely need to know/understand before I make this decision and why: [LIST].”
4.  “If there is time, here are the additional things I’d like to know/understand before I make this decision: [LIST].
/

/

Tip #3

Share and be open with your staff and colleagues about:

/

  • Your natural inclination and rationale for a time-consuming, comprehensive decision-making process
  • How this natural inclination can sometimes run counter to the best timeframe to make a particular decision
  • The new decision-making process you’ll be using and asking their support for in order to continue to make sound decisions but to make them quicker.

/


/
If this doesn’t convince you of the merits of improving your ability to make quick, quality decisions, then go get more data.  Or don’t.
/
Have a productive and enjoyable day!
/
— Brie

/

/

Blog Post


/
If you’re more introverted than extroverted, making decisions with speed is something you’re not likely known for around the office.

/

It doesn’t come naturally to you and if you’re pressed to make a quick decision, you probably find it quite stressful.

/

Well, if you’re a current or emerging leader who falls on the introvert side of the spectrum, I’ve got some good news and some bad news …

/

The Bad News

/

In 2017, Harvard Business Review published their findings from the CEO Genome Project:
This 10-year study showed there are four specific behaviours that are critical to high-performing CEOs and C-suite executives.
One of the behaviours is Deciding with Speed and Conviction.

/

HBR - What Great CEOs Do Differently

Click image for full article.

/

The Good News

/
Today, I’m going to offer some thoughts and tips to help introverts get better at and more comfortable with the first element of this behaviour:
 

/


/

What the Study Found

/
I imagine this tells you why quick decision-making is an important skill to develop:

/

“High-performing CEOs do not necessarily stand out for making great decisions all the time; rather, they stand out for being more decisive.
They make decisions earlier, faster, and with greater conviction.
They do so consistently—even amid ambiguity, with incomplete information, and in unfamiliar domains.
In our data, people who were described as “decisive” were 12 times more likely to be high-performing CEOs.”

/


/

The Introvert’s Struggle

/
There are some common traits of introverts that speak to why many have difficulty making decisions with speed .
/
Introverts:

/

  • are comprehensive thinkers,
  • like to know and understand all of the details of something,
  • like to have alone-time to process things, and
  • believe that making sound decisions comes from assessing all relevant data.
/
All of this takes time!
/
Something a colleague/friend of mine firmly believed was this: perfection is the enemy of good enough.
/
The natural response to this statement from extroverts and introverts would be different:

/

Extroverts:
“Yes!  Make a decision so we can start moving on this.”

/

Introverts:
“Good enough isn’t good enough.  What if it’s the wrong decision?”
/
Which brings us to …

/


/

Tips for Introverts:

/
Guess what?
/
There’s a lot of information out there to support the notion that you don’t always need to know and understand all of the data that relates to a decision you need to make in order to make the right decision.

/


/

Tip #1

Honour your need for data by examining the data that will lead you to being more comfortable in making quicker decisions.

/
Here are two books on this to get you started:

/

Blink - Malcolm Gladwell - Chapters.ca

Think Fast - Guy A. Hale - Chapters.ca

/


/

Tip #2

Follow a set process to help you make decisions more quickly.

/
Here’s one you can use:
/
1.  “I need to decide __________.
2.  “I need to make this decision by [DATE] because [REASON].”
3.  “Here’s what I absolutely need to know/understand before I make this decision and why: [LIST].”
4.  “If there is time, here are the additional things I’d like to know/understand before I make this decision: [LIST].
/

/

Tip #3

Share and be open with your staff and colleagues about:

/

  • Your natural inclination and rationale for a time-consuming, comprehensive decision-making process
  • How this natural inclination can sometimes run counter to the best timeframe to make a particular decision
  • The new decision-making process you’ll be using and asking their support for in order to continue to make sound decisions but to make them quicker.

/


/
If this doesn’t convince you of the merits of improving your ability to make quick, quality decisions, then go get more data.  Or don’t.
/
Have a productive and enjoyable day!
/
— Brie

/

/
© 2018 Connected Conversations™

Addressing a Diminishing Job Performance

Addressing a Diminishing Job Performance

Leadership Blog

My leadership blog is all about helping current and emerging leaders learn how to transform difficult conversations and dysfunctional workplace relationships into positive and productive ones.

Brie Barker


/

An employee demonstrating diminishing job performance is both common and important enough that, as a leader/manager, you need to know how to address it effectively.

/
From what I’ve seen in my practice, many leaders/managers consider this a difficult conversation to even initiate, let alone execute effectively.
/
Here’s how you can begin that conversation in a way that will yield a positive and productive outcome.
/
In general terms, the answer to reversing a situation of diminishing job performance is to get your employee to either:
/
»»  Start doing something,
»»  Start doing something BETTER, or
»»  Stop doing something.
/
And sometimes it’s some multiple/combination of those things.
/
Now, just telling your employee to start/improve/stop seldom works and, if it does, the change will almost always be temporary.
/

The first thing you need to do is understand why this change in performance/behaviour is happening — and you’re best to start from a place of non-judgement. 

/

S E E K   F I R S T   T O   U N D E R S T A N D

Seek first to understand.

/
Arrange to have a conversation in a private setting.  A neutral place such as a meeting room helps to suspend an unhelpful power dynamic that could be present in your personal office space.  The initial tone and feeling of the conversation should be more human-to-human and less boss-to-employee.
/

//

Opening the Conversation:

/
Open your conversation with something like this …
/
“I’ve noticed that your job performance has dropped lately, Chris.
I’m used to you operating on a higher level and I just want to check in with you on that.
Can you shed some light for me on what’s happening?”
/
Let’s unpack this wording a bit …
/

Sentence #1:

  • You are getting right to the point of the conversation.  This helps you stay focused and Chris isn’t left feeling anxious in wondering  what the conversation’s going to be about.
  • You are making an observation about Chris’ performance, not casting blame/shame by saying something like, “You’ve been doing a lousy job lately.”

Sentence #2:

  • It’s clear to Chris that you acknowledge this is a change from a higher performance level, which will reduce any defensiveness.
  • Your intention is clear — you have general concern for Chris; you want Chris’ perspective and are not making any assumptions.

Sentence #3:

  • This is an open invitation for Chris to share, not a demand for accountability.
  • You may think you know the reasons for the diminishing performance but people feel more empowered and respected when they’re giving the opportunity to self-assess … plus, you might be wrong.
  • At the end of this sentence, remain silent until Chris has had time to process and respond.

/


/

Employee’s Possible Responses:

/
Chris’ response will likely come in one of three flavours.  Here’s what they are and how you can respond, in turn:
/

Response A:

Chris responds openly with thoughts of what the root cause(s) of the diminishing performance are.

 

If this happens, it’s a sure sign that Chris trusts you.  Give yourself an Awesome Leader checkmark!
/

Response B:

Chris will refute your claim.
/
There are two reasons why Chris might do this:
/
»»  Chris agrees but is too egotistical or embarrassed to say so
»»  Chris doesn’t agree
/
Either way, you need to respond with specifics that support your claim, e.g.:
/
“You haven’t met your quota for the past two months.”
“You were two weeks late in finishing your part of the System-X project, which pushed our go-live date back another month.”
“Accounting had to send your monthly budget status report back to you three times for you to correct significant errors.”
/
Again, it’s important to cite such things as observations, without hostility.
/
After you lay out the specifics, it will help reduce any defensiveness that might have creeped up by saying something like, “And this just isn’t the solid level of job performance that you’ve always delivered.”
/

Response C:

Chris will acknowledge his poor performance but will say something like, “I’m not really sure why things aren’t going well lately.”
/
A response like this can mean either:
/
»»  Chris does know what’s going on but isn’t feeling comfortable enough to talk about it yet (it comes down to trust) or, less likely,
»»  Chris really doesn’t know why this is happening.
/
If it means the former you need to re-extend the invitation to share; if it means the latter then you need to try and help Chris figure it out.
/
Either way, there are two specific further lines of enquiry for you to move to now, in order:  (Note that both of them still invite Chris to self-assess.)
/
1.  Work Environment:
“Can you think of any systemic or procedural issues, or interpersonal problems that could be affecting your performance?”
/
If that yields fruit, continue the conversation.  If it doesn’t yield fruit, go to the next line of enquiry,
/
2.  Personal Life:
“Can you tell me about anything that’s going on in your personal life that could be affecting your performance at work?  We’re all human and sometimes life’s circumstances are really hard to manage.”
/
The second sentence helps normalize the situation in Chris’ mind and continue to make Chris feel less vulnerable.
/
If this line of enquiry yields fruit, continue the exploration.
/
If this doesn’t yield fruit either, then one of two things is likely going on:

 

»»  Chris is feeling too vulnerable to share these things with you — you need to build up more trust.
»»  Chris isn’t emotionally ready to recognize the source of problems and may need time and/or professional help to figure this out.

/

So those are a few paths that lead to the first thing you need to accomplish when addressing an employee’s diminishing job performance — understand the root cause(s) — why it’s happening.

/
Of course, there’s quite a way to go before this conversation plays out, but that’s where I’m going to leave things today.
/
Have a productive and enjoyable day!
/
— Brie
/

Blog Post


/

An employee demonstrating diminishing job performance is both common and important enough that, as a leader/manager, you need to know how to address it effectively.

/
From what I’ve seen in my practice, many leaders/managers consider this a difficult conversation to even initiate, let alone execute effectively.
/
Here’s how you can begin that conversation in a way that will yield a positive and productive outcome.
/
In general terms, the answer to reversing a situation of diminishing job performance is to get your employee to either:
/
»»  Start doing something,
»»  Start doing something BETTER, or
»»  Stop doing something.
/
And sometimes it’s some multiple/combination of those things.
/
Now, just telling your employee to start/improve/stop seldom works and, if it does, the change will almost always be temporary.
/

The first thing you need to do is understand why this change in performance/behaviour is happening — and you’re best to start from a place of non-judgement. 

/

S E E K   F I R S T   T O   U N D E R S T A N D

Seek first to understand.

/
Arrange to have a conversation in a private setting.  A neutral place such as a meeting room helps to suspend an unhelpful power dynamic that could be present in your personal office space.  The initial tone and feeling of the conversation should be more human-to-human and less boss-to-employee.
/

//

Opening the Conversation:

/
Open your conversation with something like this …
/
“I’ve noticed that your job performance has dropped lately, Chris.
I’m used to you operating on a higher level and I just want to check in with you on that.
Can you shed some light for me on what’s happening?”
/
Let’s unpack this wording a bit …
/

Sentence #1:

  • You are getting right to the point of the conversation.  This helps you stay focused and Chris isn’t left feeling anxious in wondering  what the conversation’s going to be about.
  • You are making an observation about Chris’ performance, not casting blame/shame by saying something like, “You’ve been doing a lousy job lately.”

Sentence #2:

  • It’s clear to Chris that you acknowledge this is a change from a higher performance level, which will reduce any defensiveness.
  • Your intention is clear — you have general concern for Chris; you want Chris’ perspective and are not making any assumptions.

Sentence #3:

  • This is an open invitation for Chris to share, not a demand for accountability.
  • You may think you know the reasons for the diminishing performance but people feel more empowered and respected when they’re giving the opportunity to self-assess … plus, you might be wrong.
  • At the end of this sentence, remain silent until Chris has had time to process and respond.

/


/

Employee’s Possible Responses:

/
Chris’ response will likely come in one of three flavours.  Here’s what they are and how you can respond, in turn:
/

Response A:

Chris responds openly with thoughts of what the root cause(s) of the diminishing performance are.

 

If this happens, it’s a sure sign that Chris trusts you.  Give yourself an Awesome Leader checkmark!
/

Response B:

Chris will refute your claim.
/
There are two reasons why Chris might do this:
/
»»  Chris agrees but is too egotistical or embarrassed to say so
»»  Chris doesn’t agree
/
Either way, you need to respond with specifics that support your claim, e.g.:
/
“You haven’t met your quota for the past two months.”
“You were two weeks late in finishing your part of the System-X project, which pushed our go-live date back another month.”
“Accounting had to send your monthly budget status report back to you three times for you to correct significant errors.”
/
Again, it’s important to cite such things as observations, without hostility.
/
After you lay out the specifics, it will help reduce any defensiveness that might have creeped up by saying something like, “And this just isn’t the solid level of job performance that you’ve always delivered.”
/

Response C:

Chris will acknowledge his poor performance but will say something like, “I’m not really sure why things aren’t going well lately.”
/
A response like this can mean either:
/
»»  Chris does know what’s going on but isn’t feeling comfortable enough to talk about it yet (it comes down to trust) or, less likely,
»»  Chris really doesn’t know why this is happening.
/
If it means the former you need to re-extend the invitation to share; if it means the latter then you need to try and help Chris figure it out.
/
Either way, there are two specific further lines of enquiry for you to move to now, in order:  (Note that both of them still invite Chris to self-assess.)
/
1.  Work Environment:
“Can you think of any systemic or procedural issues, or interpersonal problems that could be affecting your performance?”
/
If that yields fruit, continue the conversation.  If it doesn’t yield fruit, go to the next line of enquiry,
/
2.  Personal Life:
“Can you tell me about anything that’s going on in your personal life that could be affecting your performance at work?  We’re all human and sometimes life’s circumstances are really hard to manage.”
/
The second sentence helps normalize the situation in Chris’ mind and continue to make Chris feel less vulnerable.
/
If this line of enquiry yields fruit, continue the exploration.
/
If this doesn’t yield fruit either, then one of two things is likely going on:

 

»»  Chris is feeling too vulnerable to share these things with you — you need to build up more trust.
»»  Chris isn’t emotionally ready to recognize the source of problems and may need time and/or professional help to figure this out.

/

So those are a few paths that lead to the first thing you need to accomplish when addressing an employee’s diminishing job performance — understand the root cause(s) — why it’s happening.

/
Of course, there’s quite a way to go before this conversation plays out, but that’s where I’m going to leave things today.
/
Have a productive and enjoyable day!
/
— Brie
/
© 2018 Connected Conversations™

Effectively Managing an Intimidating Employee

Effectively Managing an Intimidating Employee

Leadership Blog

My leadership blog is all about helping current and emerging leaders learn how to transform difficult conversations and dysfunctional workplace relationships into positive and productive ones.

Brie Barker

I once helped a manager (we’ll call her Amy) who was having difficulty dealing with a rather intimidating employee (we’ll call him Mark).
/
It wasn’t just Amy who felt Mark was intimidating — everyone else on her team felt the same way.  They would often complain about Mark to her and Amy was aware that the side conversations people were having about him were having a negative effect on morale and productivity.
/
They all worked together in a typical office environment in a large organization; everyone’s work was administrative in nature.  It was clear to Amy, however, that Mark would rather be doing something else entirely.
/
Mark was a dedicated reservist in the armed forces.
He spent many nights each week and almost every weekend at gatherings or training exercises with other people who shared his passion.
/
It was obvious to Amy that Mark certainly didn’t have any passion for his job though — it seemed like he was just doing the minimum amount of work required and was only there to collect a paycheque.
/
Back in the office, the pictures that Mark had up in his cubicle reflected his passion: images of fellow reservists in uniform, training exercises, guns, etc.
/
When he was agitated, which was often, Mark would speak with a stern, raised voice, while taking a firm grip on whatever table he was at … and Mark was a pretty big guy.
/

The end result was a very tense work environment that was not as productive as Amy needed it to be.

/

What approach could Amy take that you think would be a win for everyone concerned?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Blog Post

I once helped a manager (we’ll call her Amy) who was having difficulty dealing with a rather intimidating employee (we’ll call him Mark).
/
It wasn’t just Amy who felt Mark was intimidating — everyone else on her team felt the same way.  They would often complain about Mark to her and Amy was aware that the side conversations people were having about him were having a negative effect on morale and productivity.
/
They all worked together in a typical office environment in a large organization; everyone’s work was administrative in nature.  It was clear to Amy, however, that Mark would rather be doing something else entirely.
/
Mark was a dedicated reservist in the armed forces.

/

He spent many nights each week and almost every weekend at gatherings or training exercises with other people who shared his passion.
/
It was obvious to Amy that Mark certainly didn’t have any passion for his job though — it seemed like he was just doing the minimum amount of work required and was only there to collect a paycheque.
/
Back in the office, the pictures that Mark had up in his cubicle reflected his passion: images of fellow reservists in uniform, training exercises, guns, etc.
/
When he was agitated, which was often, Mark would speak with a stern, raised voice, while taking a firm grip on whatever table he was at … and Mark was a pretty big guy.
/

The end result was a very tense work environment that was not as productive as Amy needed it to be.

/

What approach could Amy take that you think would be a win for everyone concerned?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

© 2018 Connected Conversations™

Culture Change: Beware the CEO Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, Part 2

Culture Change: Beware the CEO Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, Part 2

Leadership Blog

My leadership blog is all about helping current and emerging leaders learn how to transform difficult conversations and dysfunctional workplace relationships into positive and productive ones.

Brie Barker

Attention!

Don’t read this post until you’ve read Part 1.

/


/
In last week’s “Case Study”, we left off where the HR Manager had informed the L&D company that the CEO had decided not to engage them for the 3-year contract and that they would be seeking a different vendor.
/
But before we get into “What the Heck Happened?!”, I’m going to come clean on something …
/
This scenario actually took place.  I know, because I lived it.  I’m not going to say what organization this was, for two reasons:

/

1.  The Nature of Truth

The facts of this story are accurate.  Others people’s emotions, intentions and beliefs I put forth are my interpretation, that is, they portray my truthful experience.  I acknowledge that the truthful experience that other people involved had may be different than mine.

/

2.  Lawsuits Aren’t Fun

I share this story so that others may learn from it, not to defame anyone or any organization.  I hold no malice!
/
So, that being said …
/

/

What I Think Happened:

/
Are you familiar with Aesop’s fable, The Scorpion and The Frog?
/
If not, here’s a great 2-minute video by Way Singleton that will bring you up to speed:
/
/
Here’s how this cautionary tale links up with my story:

/


/
Frog
The frog represents the people in the organization who want to work within a culture of cooperation and collaboration.

/

Shoreline
The shore the frog and the scorpion are swimming to is where that culture exists.

/

Scorpion
The scorpion is the CEO, with one distinction:
regarding it’s nature, the scorpion is self-aware … this CEO, I fear, is not.

/


/
As a Certified Professional Behavioural Analyst, my observations of this CEO indicate a High-D (Dominant) profile, based on the DISC model of behavioural analysis.
/
Now, there are certain characteristics of a CEO with a High-D profile that are generally assets when they choose to champion something:
/
  • Innovative
  • Forward-looking
  • Persistent
  • Problem solver
  • Challenge-oriented
  • Results-oriented
/
However, here are some other characteristics of someone with a High-D profile:
/
  • Demanding
  • Competitive
  • Argumentative
  • Opinionated
  • Aggressive
  • Egotistical
  • Lacks tact and diplomacy
  • Gets angry when stressed

/


/

See the problem in this situation?

/
I see this CEO’s natural behaviour in stark contradiction to the kind of culture this CEO is the self-proclaimed champion for.
/
It’s like the CEO is saying,

/

“We need to create a culture of cooperation and collaboration, one that values diverse opinions that everyone feels encouraged to share. 
“This has to be accomplished by the end of this fiscal year and I know exactly what needs to be done and what each of you has to do.  If you’re not on board with this then you don’t belong here.”
/
If this organization is to successfully manifest this culture change, I think one of two things needs to happen:
/

One:

Their CEO needs to become self-aware of the contradiction I’ve described and learn to adapt their behaviour to be in sync with the desired culture change.
/

Two:

Get a different CEO, one that is more suitable for this far-sweeping initiative.
/
If one of these two things don’t take place, I fear this culture change is doomed to fail.
/
That being said, I truly hope they’re able to pull it off.
/
Have a productive and enjoyable day!
/
/— Brie

Blog Post

Attention!

Don’t read this post until you’ve read Part 1.

/


/
In last week’s “Case Study”, we left off where the HR Manager had informed the L&D company that the CEO had decided not to engage them for the 3-year contract and that they would be seeking a different vendor.
/
But before we get into “What the Heck Happened?!”, I’m going to come clean on something …
/
This scenario actually took place.  I know, because I lived it.  I’m not going to say what organization this was, for two reasons:

/

1.  The Nature of Truth

The facts of this story are accurate.  Others people’s emotions, intentions and beliefs I put forth are my interpretation, that is, they portray my truthful experience.  I acknowledge that the truthful experience that other people involved had may be different than mine.

/

2.  Lawsuits Aren’t Fun

I share this story so that others may learn from it, not to defame anyone or any organization.  I hold no malice!
/
So, that being said …
/

/

What I Think Happened:

/
Are you familiar with Aesop’s fable, The Scorpion and The Frog?
/
If not, here’s a great 2-minute video by Way Singleton that will bring you up to speed:
/
/
Here’s how this cautionary tale links up with my story:

/


/
Frog
The frog represents the people in the organization who want to work within a culture of cooperation and collaboration.

/

Shoreline
The shore the frog and the scorpion are swimming to is where that culture exists.

/

Scorpion
The scorpion is the CEO, with one distinction:
regarding it’s nature, the scorpion is self-aware … this CEO, I fear, is not.

/


/
As a Certified Professional Behavioural Analyst, my observations of this CEO indicate a High-D (Dominant) profile, based on the DISC model of behavioural analysis.
/
Now, there are certain characteristics of a CEO with a High-D profile that are generally assets when they choose to champion something:
/
  • Innovative
  • Forward-looking
  • Persistent
  • Problem solver
  • Challenge-oriented
  • Results-oriented
/
However, here are some other characteristics of someone with a High-D profile:
/
  • Demanding
  • Competitive
  • Argumentative
  • Opinionated
  • Aggressive
  • Egotistical
  • Lacks tact and diplomacy
  • Gets angry when stressed

/


/

See the problem in this situation?

/
I see this CEO’s natural behaviour in stark contradiction to the kind of culture this CEO is the self-proclaimed champion for.
/
It’s like the CEO is saying,

/

“We need to create a culture of cooperation and collaboration, one that values diverse opinions that everyone feels encouraged to share. 
“This has to be accomplished by the end of this fiscal year and I know exactly what needs to be done and what each of you has to do.  If you’re not on board with this then you don’t belong here.”
/
If this organization is to successfully manifest this culture change, I think one of two things needs to happen:
/

One:

Their CEO needs to become self-aware of the contradiction I’ve described and learn to adapt their behaviour to be in sync with the desired culture change.
/

Two:

Get a different CEO, one that is more suitable for this far-sweeping initiative.
/
If one of these two things don’t take place, I fear this culture change is doomed to fail.
/
That being said, I truly hope they’re able to pull it off.
/
Have a productive and enjoyable day!
/
/— Brie
© 2018 Connected Conversations™

Culture Change: Beware the CEO Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Culture Change: Beware the CEO Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Leadership Blog

My leadership blog is all about helping current and emerging leaders learn how to transform difficult conversations and dysfunctional workplace relationships into positive and productive ones.

Brie Barker

Most would agree that it’s almost impossible to successfully bring about a major culture change throughout an organization without it’s leader as the ultimate champion of the initiative.
However, this very same leader/champion can also be the reason the desired culture change is doomed to fail.

Culture Change “Case Study”

Part 1 – Things Are Looking Up!

A fairly large, decades-old organization has the following cultural characteristics:
⇒  a command-and-control approach to leadership and management
⇒  a culture of isolated and competing silos
The organization’s CEO has decided that there has to be a significant shift if they’re going to survive and thrive — a shift that creates a culture of genuine collaboration and cooperation.
Most of the organization’s executives, managers and general staff agree with the CEO and are excited to see the CEO assume the role of champion for the change.
The CEO tasks the HR Manager with issuing an RFP to external learning and development companies to outline, then design and deliver, a 3-year program that will change the necessary attitudes and behaviours required to manifest the culture change.
The selection committee — which includes the CEO — awards a company the initial contract, which calls for a pilot workshop for the entire C-Suite and a representative from each department.  Pending a favourable outcome, the company will be awarded the full, 3-year contract.

“Wow!” I hear some people saying.  “I know a few organizations that would kill their prize sheep for a CEO like this!”

Frightened Sheep
The selected L&D company comes in and delivers the pilot workshop.  They’ve not only has given the organization everything they wanted to see based on the RFP and subsequent discussions, but the methodologies embedded in the design of the workshop modelled the values and collaborative approach the CEO wanted to see instilled in the organization.
The HR Manager was highly impressed.
A few days later, the HR Manager informs the L&D company that the CEO has decided not to engage them for the 3-year contract and that they will be seeking a different vendor.

“Uhhhh … what’s that, Brie?”


Culture Change “Case Study”

Part 2 – What the Heck Happened?!

Leave a comment with what you think could have happened to derail this train!
Next week, I’ll share with you what I think happened and what we can learn from it.
Have a productive and enjoyable day!
— Brie
P.S. Did you think the quotation marks I bracketed Case Study with were an indication of punctuative ignorance? 

Blog Post

Most would agree that it’s almost impossible to successfully bring about a major culture change throughout an organization without it’s leader as the ultimate champion of the initiative.
However, this very same leader/champion can also be the reason the desired culture change is doomed to fail.

Culture Change “Case Study”

Part 1 – Things Are Looking Up!

A fairly large, decades-old organization has the following cultural characteristics:

⇒  a command-and-control approach to leadership and management

⇒  a culture of isolated and competing silos

The organization’s CEO has decided that there has to be a significant shift if they’re going to survive and thrive — a shift that creates a culture of genuine collaboration and cooperation.
Most of the organization’s executives, managers and general staff agree with the CEO and are excited to see the CEO assume the role of champion for the change.
The CEO tasks the HR Manager with issuing an RFP to external learning and development companies to outline, then design and deliver, a 3-year program that will change the necessary attitudes and behaviours required to manifest the culture change.
The selection committee — which includes the CEO — awards a company the initial contract, which calls for a pilot workshop for the entire C-Suite and a representative from each department.  Pending a favourable outcome, the company will be awarded the full, 3-year contract.

“Wow!” I hear some people saying.  “I know a few organizations that would kill their prize sheep for a CEO like this!”

Frightened Sheep
The selected L&D company comes in and delivers the pilot workshop.  They’ve not only has given the organization everything they wanted to see based on the RFP and subsequent discussions, but the methodologies embedded in the design of the workshop modelled the values and collaborative approach the CEO wanted to see instilled in the organization.
The HR Manager was highly impressed.
A few days later, the HR Manager informs the L&D company that the CEO has decided not to engage them for the 3-year contract and that they will be seeking a different vendor.

“Uhhhh … what’s that, Brie?”


Culture Change “Case Study”

Part 2 – What the Heck Happened?!

Leave a comment with what you think could have happened to derail this train!

Next week, I’ll share with you what I think happened and what we can learn from it.
Have a productive and enjoyable day!
— Brie
P.S. Did you think the quotation marks I bracketed Case Study with were an indication of punctuative ignorance? 
© 2018 Connected Conversations™

Learning from “Negative” Workplace Emotions

Learning from “Negative” Workplace Emotions

Leadership Blog

My leadership blog is all about helping current and emerging leaders learn how to transform difficult conversations and dysfunctional workplace relationships into positive and productive ones.

Brie Barker

Typically, when people think of the benefits of a passionate workplace, they get a picture of them stemming from people who are brimming with smiles, positivity and energetic collaboration.
/

However, you and your organization can also benefit from high intensity, “negative” workplace emotions — the “dark side” of passion.

/

/
In his recent HBR article, How to Build a Passionate Company, Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, talks about 5 ways to foster the kind of passion that fuels great performance.
/
The first one on his list is the importance of letting people show their emotions at work. Jim says:
/
“We often use the term “emotional” like it’s a bad word, especially when it comes to the workplace. But inspiration, enthusiasm, motivation, and excitement are emotions too. If you ask your people to check their emotions (both the good and the bad) at the door, you can’t tap into their passion.”
/
I couldn’t agree more, Jim!
/
Imagine one of your staff members has a real bee in their bonnet – they’re shouting, angry and defiant, being as loud and unyielding as a dog with a bone.
/
Now, let’s be honest, no one likes to be yelled at (or bitten). When you’re on the receiving end of such tirades, it’s the fight or flight response that typically kicks in.
/
However, it’s just this kind of situation that calls on you to bring your “A” game as a leader/manager and craft a more thoughtful, measured response.
/
Today, however, I’m not going to get into how to react effectively in such situations.
/
Instead, let’s consider what you can learn, in general, when someone on your staff feels compelled to express themselves this way.
/

/

People don’t get passionate about things they don’t care about.

/
And, with the kind of outburst we’re talking about here, they’re demonstrating they care about one of two things:
/
 the organization
 themselves
/

/

 The Organization:

/
If they’re talking about the work, i.e. why something either has to be done or shouldn’t be done, they’re likely getting frustrated because they feel their viewpoint isn’t being heard, considered or understood. They believe so strongly on how the issue effects the organization that they’re willing to go to battle.
/
So, it’s important not to get triggered by the anger and defiance. If you remain calm and open, you can fully take in the content of what they’re saying. If you don’t, you could be letting the emotion that’s coming at you blind you to something that really is crucial to your organization’s well being.
/

/

Themselves:

/
If the person is talking about her/himself, it’s critical not to get triggered and just write off what they’re saying as griping. Whether the content of what they’re saying has merit or not, the first thing to remember here is that you likely have a staff member who isn’t happy and is feeling disengaged.
/
If you let your empathy be hijacked, you’ll never find out if their complaints have any merit and your staff member will continue to have a negative impact on the overall working climate and productivity.
/

/
So, the next time one of your staff members exhibits the “dark side” of passion, commit to finding out what it is they’re trying to shine a light on.
/
Have an enjoyable and productive day!
/
— Brie
/
P.S. My thanks to Jennifer Cross, who shared Jim’s article with me via LinkedIn … with passion.

Blog Post

Typically, when people think of the benefits of a passionate workplace, they get a picture of them stemming from people who are brimming with smiles, positivity and energetic collaboration.
/

However, you and your organization can also benefit from high intensity, “negative” workplace emotions — the “dark side” of passion.

/

/
In his recent HBR article, How to Build a Passionate Company, Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, talks about 5 ways to foster the kind of passion that fuels great performance.
/
The first one on his list is the importance of letting people show their emotions at work. Jim says:
/
“We often use the term “emotional” like it’s a bad word, especially when it comes to the workplace. But inspiration, enthusiasm, motivation, and excitement are emotions too. If you ask your people to check their emotions (both the good and the bad) at the door, you can’t tap into their passion.”
/
I couldn’t agree more, Jim!
/
Imagine one of your staff members has a real bee in their bonnet – they’re shouting, angry and defiant, being as loud and unyielding as a dog with a bone.
/
Now, let’s be honest, no one likes to be yelled at (or bitten). When you’re on the receiving end of such tirades, it’s the fight or flight response that typically kicks in.
/
However, it’s just this kind of situation that calls on you to bring your “A” game as a leader/manager and craft a more thoughtful, measured response.
/
Today, however, I’m not going to get into how to react effectively in such situations.
/
Instead, let’s consider what you can learn, in general, when someone on your staff feels compelled to express themselves this way.
/

/

People don’t get passionate about things they don’t care about.

/
And, with the kind of outburst we’re talking about here, they’re demonstrating they care about one of two things:
/
 the organization
 themselves
/

/

 The Organization:

/
If they’re talking about the work, i.e. why something either has to be done or shouldn’t be done, they’re likely getting frustrated because they feel their viewpoint isn’t being heard, considered or understood. They believe so strongly on how the issue effects the organization that they’re willing to go to battle.
/
So, it’s important not to get triggered by the anger and defiance. If you remain calm and open, you can fully take in the content of what they’re saying. If you don’t, you could be letting the emotion that’s coming at you blind you to something that really is crucial to your organization’s well being.
/

/

Themselves:

/
If the person is talking about her/himself, it’s critical not to get triggered and just write off what they’re saying as griping. Whether the content of what they’re saying has merit or not, the first thing to remember here is that you likely have a staff member who isn’t happy and is feeling disengaged.
/
If you let your empathy be hijacked, you’ll never find out if their complaints have any merit and your staff member will continue to have a negative impact on the overall working climate and productivity.
/

/
So, the next time one of your staff members exhibits the “dark side” of passion, commit to finding out what it is they’re trying to shine a light on.
/
Have an enjoyable and productive day!
/
— Brie
/
P.S. My thanks to Jennifer Cross, who shared Jim’s article with me via LinkedIn … with passion.
© 2018 Connected Conversations™