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Archive for the ‘Performance Management’ Category

So you want to become a leader: here’s how

In Development, Leadership, Performance Management, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Strategy, Team on February 23, 2017 at 1:46 am

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In today’s competitive environment, standing out can actually be the thing that gives you an edge. For instance, if you’re positioning yourself for a leadership role or promotion, It’s important to develop a strategy to consistently demonstrate your personal leadership traits.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a peek into Tim’s profile. Tim is an inspired, hardworking and conscientious high performer. Tim is great at stakeholder meetings and client-facing events. He is also an empathetic listener and hands on team player.

You could say Tim has high potential to be a leader: he’s a HiPo, that is, he has been identified as having the potential, ability, and aspiration for succession to leadership positions within the organization. However, Tim has no management experience, having never officially led a team before. Apart from his own self-confidence and what some of his peers and his manager know, Tim has no concrete data to make a strong case. What’s more, Tim works in a dynamic firm with dozens of others who could possibly be vying for the same role.

So how can Tim progress his career? Tim could start preparing for his performance review conversations by gathering data. You see, future leaders are made long before they are earmarked for success. It comes from your own desire to excel. So what steps do you take to ensure you outshine those vying for that one coveted position?

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Unconscious bias: Why every leader should avoid it and how

In Communication, culture, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Development, Performance Management, Personal Branding on February 6, 2017 at 12:19 am

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Human beings are extremely judgmental creatures. Harsh but true. We make impressions on people, events and things, often within the first fifteen seconds of coming into contact with them. We form opinions and tell ourselves stories that become reality in our minds.

We often credit this to intuition or a claim to have good judge of character. Sometimes, we are right. Sometimes we are not. Sometimes, the judgment is tainted by our experiences, fixed ideas and unconscious bias.

But it’s the opinions we form and the stories we tell ourselves that can become dangerous. Because sometimes, just sometimes, even after we have become more acquainted with the person, event or thing, these opinions and stories stick in our subconscious, even if they prove to be false. We remain wedged in the bias.

Herein lies one of the fundamental flaws of the human psyche. And the workplace is no exception to this rule.

The thing is, managers and leaders are first and foremost humans and are not exempt from this. But to be an effective and fair manager, we want to separate ourselves from this pitfall and manage, inspire and lead without bias, either conscious or unconscious. So how do we ensure we don’t get sucked into the zone of stereotyping but instead embrace attributes that promote inclusivity and diversity?

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Five tips to prepare for a performance review conversation

In Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Performance Management, Strategy on January 16, 2017 at 5:46 am

A photo by Liz Weston. unsplash.com/photos/VWceV6QdwS8

It seems performance review conversations have earned a bad reputation. Many managers may dread them because they seem tedious and laborious, followed by endless amounts of paperwork and administration that need to be completed and filed. At least for another six months or so.

And you, as you sit on the other side of the desk, dread it, too. Perhaps because you can sense how arduous it is for them. So you simply want to get it over and done with. But performance review conversations are not just one-way lectures. After all, they’re conversations, not monologues.

So have you ever wondered how you can proactively make your performance review conversations richer to serve you better?

Entering a performance review conversation having prepared for one has its benefits. By preparing yourself for your performance review conversation, you set yourself up for success in various ways. You work towards ensuring mutual understanding of expectations between you and your manager, ensuring goal alignment between yourself and your role, the department and the business, highlighting your strengths for increased job satisfaction, then identifying opportunities for development and growth to feed self-fulfilment and a sense of achievement.

Whether or not you intend to strive to a leadership status, it pays to approach every performance review conversation with a view to extend and leverage your career. So let’s look at how you can do this.

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Developing talent for the new organization

In culture, Development, Inspire, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Development, Performance Management, Philosophy, Strategy, Training on September 6, 2016 at 2:52 am

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Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2016 identified that:

“The ‘new organization’, as we call it, is built around highly empowered teams, driven by a new model of management, and led by a breed of younger, more globally diverse leaders. To lead this shift toward the new organization, CEOs and HR leaders are focused on understanding and creating a shared culture, designing a work environment that engages people, and constructing a new model of leadership and career development. In competition for skilled people, organizations are vying for top talent in a highly transparent job market and becoming laser-focused on their external employment brand.”

External employment brand is about the people feeding the culture internally. It is about a job being more than just a job. It is about a culture where every person passionately gives the best that they can to a cause they believe in the organization.

This is priceless.

There can be no separation between corporate culture and brand. An organization can have the best marketing and corporate communications aligned with a best practice business strategy to market its brand, but if its people do not believe the brand and what it stands for, they will not live it. And if they do not live it. You will hear it in their voice, see it in their actions, and feel it in their work.

This means that human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) professionals lend a powerful voice to the paradigm shift from the old organization to the new organization. And senior leaders need to listen to them. Because the competition for skilled people is high and organizations need to focus on developing their talent so they stand a chance of survival in the new world.

But how to do this?

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The value of feedback and coaching conversations

In Communication, culture, Development, Effectiveness, Leadership, Performance Management, Team on August 4, 2016 at 6:12 am

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Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said:

“I think it’s important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”

The beauty of human behaviour is that we are constantly learning. No matter how old we are, or how advanced we think we are, we never actually stop learning. And feedback and coaching conversations are a way in which we can learn. After all, how else are we meant to know if we’ve done something wrong or right and then learn or evolve from it?

But feedback conversations seem to have a negative association. People don’t like giving them, having them, and lastly, receiving them. But why is that? When delivered effectively, feedback conversations can be the catalyst that steers your employees in the right direction, and can be transform your managers into standout leaders.

The first step to positively giving and receiving feedback is to create a culture of feedback. This means that it’s important not only that feedback be given in a timely manner, but that individuals have the courage and permission to elicit feedback.

So what is best practice in feedback and coaching conversations that have an impact on and drive performance? Let’s explore.

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Three ways to manage nerves in a feedback conversation

In Collaboration, Communication, Inspire, Leadership, Performance Management on May 31, 2016 at 1:42 am

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Let’s face it. There are aspects about our jobs that we love and then there are aspects about our jobs that we don’t. Any job. Things we look forward to. And things we don’t.

Like feedback conversations. Nobody looks forward to those. Whether you’re a manager, leader, or coach who has to deliver the feedback, or whether you’re the one who is on the receiving end.

But what is it about feedback conversations that make us uncomfortable? Is it the thought of having to deliver news to someone about what they did that sounds like you’re telling them off, as if they are a child who did something wrong?

Or is it the nerves that hit you just before you’re about to have the conversation that suddenly render you incompetent and fighting to find the right words, or to fill the space when you are met with silence from the receiver that causes you to fumble over more words and approach the situation with verbal vomit?

Feedback conversations don’t necessarily need to be uncomfortable experiences. Nor do they necessarily need to be filled with awkward silence.

But how do you start to deal with your nerves and the emotions that manifest as a result of those nerves? Let’s look at three very basic but powerful ways you can manage nerves and emotion.

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How to decide between virtual or classroom learning

In Development, Effectiveness, Instructional Design, Leadership, Learning, Performance Management, Strategy, Team, Training on April 28, 2016 at 6:07 am

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Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2016 identified that:

“… the ubiquity of always-connected mobile devices makes learning potentially available everywhere and accessible to everyone at any time. Employees can now take a course on nearly any subject online, search for an expert video or podcast to learn a quickly needed skill, and even earn a college degree in a new topic like data science without leaving their desk—or a couch or coffee shop. This new world of consumer-centric learning puts employees, not L&D departments, in charge.”

Indeed, one of the benefits of online and virtual learning is its cost effectiveness and ubiquitous presence. The fact that it allows for easy deployment, administrative tracking and consistent roll out of content to a mass group of learners, is certainly very tempting for organizations pressed to complete training on large scales. With online and virtual learning, induction and compliance training seem a breeze.

But what about how online and virtual learning effects a business’ return on investment? And how do online and virtual learning effect learning objectives and behavioral shifts?

To consider this, we first need to explore a few avenues.

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Communication: The most important leadership skill

In Communication, Effectiveness, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Performance Management, Philosophy, Team on April 5, 2016 at 5:40 am

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“Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.”

So says billionaire Richard Branson, who believes that communication is the skill that will set you apart from the crowd.

Indeed, Branson can certainly form alliances with the many business leaders and entrepreneurs who credit effective communication skills for much of their success. He joins the ranks of Warren Buffet, who believes that effective communication will instantly raise a person’s professional value.

Branson and Buffet are not wrong. Effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills are highly valuable in the workplace. So valuable that some companies dedicate a good amount of their training budget to upskill their employees on how to communicate effectively.

Why? Because it’s a big bad world out there. Competitive. Dynamic. Fast paced. And being able to communicate effectively will help you stand out from the crowd.

But what exactly are the benefits of effective communication skills? To the individual, to the team and to the organisation. Let’s explore, shall we?

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Six ways to foster collaboration in the workplace

In Collaboration, Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Leadership, Performance Management, Team on September 15, 2015 at 2:59 am

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There’s a saying that goes: “Competition makes us faster. Collaboration makes us better.”

To attain and maintain a high performing team, sure, it’s important to feel an edge of competition. After all, a healthy amount of competition means you work extra hard to stay ahead of the game.

But competition breeds individualism.

And individualism is the opposite of collaboration.

And where competition encourages silos; collaboration breaks them down.

But we could learn a thing or two from the positive practice of a multi-active culture; a focus on people, connection, and relationships, even in business.

So it seems the focus has shifted. Where once it was about being the fastest in the industry and who could shine the brightest in the team; these days, it’s about putting all our strengths and talents into a collective pool and working together as a team for exceptional results.

Using the metaphor of the shining star, after all, one star can only shine so bright, but a collection of stars, well, you get the gist.

So we’ve come to realise that as a united front, a team can deliver so much more than just one individual.

And perhaps we’ve always realised it – we’ve only just started living and breathing it.

Collaboration. When did it get so popular? Or did it always exist under the pseudonym ‘teamwork’? And has it always been an utopian state most organisations and teams strive for but only a few succeed?

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Five simple but powerful tips to increase your influential presence

In Change Management, Communication, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Performance Management, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Positive Thinking on July 6, 2015 at 2:14 am

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Ever wondered why some people are so much more influential and persuasive than others?

American politician Jim Roth once said: “If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skilfully, you can work miracles.”

Now there’s a notion; working miracles. What exactly does that entail? A sense of power, achievement, and an ability to reach any desired goal. Profound attributes any leader would covet. Indeed, the quote certainly brings to mind the ability to communicate effectively with an aim to influence or persuade. Certainly an alluring quality. But not just for leaders. Why? Well, because influencing and persuading is a necessary skill for anyone, whether in the professional or personal sphere. It is a transferable skill that can be applied in various situations.

Influencing skills are critical to help you achieve your desired outcomes
Influencing is about being able to convince your stakeholder of the importance of an issue and to see things from a different perspective. If you haven’t got their buy-in, then you haven’t influenced or persuaded them effectively.

And here’s the thing. Influencing and persuading is not just about one conversation. I’m afraid there’s no shortcut. Sometimes, it can be a series  of conversations with the same or different stakeholder over a period of time. And in fact, how long it takes you to achieve the outcome that you’re looking for will depend on the rapport and quality of the relationship.

So what makes an effective influencer?

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