Why Leadership Development Often Fails

You walk into your place of work tomorrow. You find out that one of the key leaders in your organization, a good person who has made a tremendous impact on your life and the lives of many of those you work with, suddenly died in a freak accident.

Is your organization ready to replace this key leader?

The statistics around this are horrifying, and according to them, it’s highly unlikely you’re ready. I’d know; I’ve based my career on turning these statistics around.

For instance, only 7% of CEOs believe their companies are creating effective global leaders. Or how about only 25% of organizations saying that they have a successor identified for one out of ten critical leadership positions. That’s right: Only 25% of organizations are ready to replace only 10% of their critical positions. That means that about 97.5% of critical leadership positions are unprepared to be filled by anyone.

How is this possible when businesses annually spend over $3 billion on leadership development alone? How are we failing so epically in creating new leaders? That’s what we’re going to discuss.

Which Path Is Right?

One of the largest problems in leadership development is knowing where to even get started. There are thousands of development programs, all of which scream that their method is the only method you need to turn your

To understand where to start, you can’t just “take an expert’s word for it.” You need to actually know your team to discover their needs, and then you can begin to look for a program that will help them most.

Leadership Expert — Or Great Salesperson?

You’ve heard them speak, and wow! They were so motivational! They spoke so much truth! They gave great tips that you know will greatly impact your team!

Then what happens a few months later? None of these tips/tricks/techniques are being utilized in your team. Why?

The individual you heard or learned from was a great salesperson, and they got you to pay thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars for their “exclusive” patented training. They have techniques that can work — but there’s a difference between can and will.

If you really want lessons to stick and long-term impact to occur, you need a system that continues to develop you and your team. Weekend workshops or an hour-long stage lesson cannot provide a system you can utilize; it’s impossible. If you want these “experts” to continue to teach you, they will charge you again (or if they’re really good salespeople, they’ll offer their advanced courses).

What Worked For You May Not Work For Others

One other problem that comes up is what is known as the fallacy of composition, or, “If this is true for me, it must be true of everyone on my team.” Many leaders don’t treat their teammates as individuals and therefore put their own needs on their team when the rest of the team often needs something entirely different.

This can also tie closely with the “curse of knowledge” bias, where a leader assumes that their team has certain knowledge already, when in reality, their background never provided that knowledge. Based on this misunderstanding, leaders often will put their team into programs that they are not ready for.

These same biases also play out for whoever you have as a presenter. They often give knowledge that works for them, which they understand from their own background, but they have not made it truly applicable to you, your team or your organization, creating an unseen gap which cannot be filled in the short period that you have with these individuals.

‘Laws’ Act As A Barrier To Achievement

In our day and age, we love to have “laws” in development. These are irrefutable, indisputable, undeniable laws to success and leadership.

Here’s the problem with calling them “laws,” though: The word “law” implies that if you break them, then you’re in trouble. Often, these laws are completely impossible to follow to a T. Even in books and courses they often admit as much.

But when we see them as laws and we break them, unconsciously people tend to believe they are incompetent and don’t deserve to lead. When we miss the mark (which is inevitable because we’re human), we unconsciously feel like we deserve to go to “leadership jail.” Once here, it is difficult to pull oneself into a feeling of worthiness in a leadership position.

What Is A Leader, Anyhow?

Do you know what the definition of a leader is? Neither do most people. The dictionary says one thing, the thesaurus implies it’s a position, while my favorite, John Maxwell, says it is “influence: nothing more, nothing less.”

Yet do any of these actually hit at what it is we want? Not really.

We are looking for a person who is able to lead, at any level, and is able to help others unlock their potential. Yet most “leadership” programs aren’t designed to create what we’re looking for.

How To Rise To Become A Legendary Leader

What we need to realize is that one class or one workshop is not what we need.

Your perspective is not the only perspective, and often an outside view from a mentor or leadership coach is needed to help.

We need to treat individuals as exactly that: individuals, each with their own needs and differing places to develop.

We need continual development programs that expand as these individuals grow.

We need to understand that we seek to create what I call “legendary leaders.” This is what I hope you seek out when you are looking to dramatically make changes in your team, organization or business.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/11/04/why-leadership-development-often-fails/#2ae0f41c2464

Robots Can Lead Recruitment by Discovering Talent

The role of artificial intelligence has been steadily increasing and there’s no shortage of experts hailing it as the next big transformation in the way Human Resources departments are run.
There’s more than a grain a truth in those predictions because any significant tool does affect business as usual.

But I’ve written before about some of the problems with using AI in recruitment, including the risks of perpetuating rather than eliminating some of the bias problems that have plagued hiring processes.

Aside from recruiting, some companies are looking at the potential of AI for improving the employee experience, mining worker data to optimize potential perks. Those kinds of programs offer promise, but as I’ve mentioned it’s important to keep an eye out for specific issues.

A recent report about an IBM program now used to reverse engineer job market challenges, and thereby identify overlooked talent, represents the next chapter in the ways AI could impact HR. The idea of the program, called SkillsBuild, is to find potential recruits in disadvantaged groups by focusing on skills rather than background, education or pedigree.

Skills count
The idea of focusing on skills rather than education is a novel approach.

Obviously, no true Human Resources professional ever made a hire of a candidate with a certain educational background for the sake of that background alone. But a candidate’s education is taken as an indication of hers or his critical thinking ability, drive and affinity for learning.

Unfortunately, there’s the risk of allowing certain kinds of degrees to signal other aspects of a candidate’s background — including pedigree, which is how a preponderance of those with privileged backgrounds lead to homogeneity in the workplace.

Targeting for training
One of the benefits of the program is that it doesn’t set out necessarily to find attained skills within overlooked populations. Rather, it looks instead for the kinds of traits that would enable success and then targets those candidates for further training.

The program relies on a certain kind of candidate profiling that bypasses traditional indicators of attractiveness. “It takes a full assessment of the individual’s cognitive abilities, and creates a comprehensive competency profile that’s unique to them, then uses algorithms that match them to jobs that require different competencies,” Denise Leaser, president of the program, told CNBC. That includes characteristics such as empathy and deductive reasoning.

Meeting a need
One of the strongest promises of this program is that it focuses on segments of job-seeking populations that may not otherwise be plumbed for competitive candidates.

The first part of the program is being unveiled in Europe, with an emphasis on asylum seekers and other disadvantaged groups.

It’s a particularly effective approach due to the shortfall in competitive candidates for an increasing number of tech jobs.

AI: as good as its engineers
As with any artificial intelligence program, though, it’s important to remember that AI is susceptible to systematizing the unexamined biases of its engineers. That means it’s crucial to submit programs to an iterative assessment process to identify and correct failures.

It’s also critical to solicit input from people with a broad base of perspectives when developing AI programs. But as the IBM program shows, it’s a shift that holds as much promise as it does risks.

Source : https://it.toolbox.com/article/why-recruiters-need-new-specialized-crm-platforms

Supporting Career Development From the Inside Out

When I decided to make career change development coaching a focus for my work, I invested my time and money in my education including becoming a certified yoga teacher, getting an MA in Organizational Psychology at Columbia University, and a certification in life/organizational from the Hudson Institute. I also attended classes and programs with many experts in the field of personal growth and career development and completed a traditional Lakota Vision Quest.

My goal was to find a holistic approach that would value career dreams and help people develop careers from the inside out. The method is informed by an ongoing process I began twenty years ago in my graduate program, of interviewing people who LOVE their work. That qualitative research continues in the interviews I am doing today for these Forbes.com posts on compassionate leadership.

In this intensive search for a complete 360-degree approach to career and life planning, I ultimately decided to create a new approach based on what I learned from what I call the super- satisfied careerists. The result has become The Donnellan Method. I started developing this process in 1999 and have used its current iteration for the last fifteen years as the foundation for one-to-one and group career transformation programs. This year, my team and I have honed and used this approach in partnership with the SC College of Business at Cornell University and the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver with both alumni and student cohorts.

Today In: Leadership
This twelve-part foundation for curriculum helps people examine their past, assess their present and plan their future through the lens of what I call Soul Work. Soul Work is the absolute best use of your passions and purpose. In our experience, anyone can find soul work or a calling, if they are willing to do the work:

In addition to providing a core curriculum, we have a comprehensive facilitation method that provides tools and techniques that can be used by any leader, helper or coach who is guiding people through a career change. Here are ten tenets that are part of this approach that integrates the head with the heart:

Dream Advocacy – We maintain faith in the possibility that clients can find and practice their soul work, meet (or more fully meet) their highest potential, and make positive changes in their lives.
Wisdom – We espouse a “lead from behind” approach: we respect clients’ limits, show gentleness towards their vulnerability, and never impose our own values or hopes on them.
Trust – We are patient with our clients and the process, and help our clients to be patient as well. We believe in the power of trusting relationships and our methodology.
Partnership – We acknowledge when a client’s issue or block is beyond our expertise and show savvy in assessing client needs, conferring with our colleagues and making referrals to other professionals.
Safety – We are able to witness, hold the space for, and appropriately respond to a full range of emotions. We listen deeply and openly. We are tolerant and supportive of differing values.
Focus – We appropriately use self-disclosure, focusing on the process and needs of the client and knowing that self-disclosure should be used instructional and prudently.
Expertise – We judiciously use and balance strategizing, advising, guiding, questioning, challenging, giving honest feedback, and listening.
Awareness – We know our own issues, strengths, biases, projections, fears, and sore spots and we seek out coaching from a mentor whenever we have a question or concern that we cannot manage ourselves.
Grace – We expect and accept that some aspects of the process of finding and following a calling are mystical. We develop our attunement to this and honor our clients’ personal experience of grace, intuition, and spirituality.
Mastery – We proactively learn and strive to become masterful in our practice so we will be up to date on career technology, trends and resources while being the best guides we can be in meeting the objectives and expectations of our clients.

Source  : https://www.forbes.com/sites/laureldonnellan/2019/10/30/10-principles-for-supporting-career-development-from-the-inside-out/#2f3608865586

The Best And Worst Advice For Job Seekers And Interviewers In A Neurodiverse World

This piece is full of tips, but it also takes a more holistic look at work, who we hire and why exuding confidence and embracing difference is what brands (and people who build them) need most in 2020. In addition to offering job interview advice you’ve probably never heard put in quite this way, my hope is to reboot the way the corporate world sees ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, executive function and processing deficits and the people who live, work and succeed with them. These are basic tips—for both job seekers and interviewers—to get a difficult conversation about thinking and working differently started:

Tips for Job Seekers

Don’t Label Yourself. Be Yourself. Medical labels are only your friend when you are seeking a diagnosis or treatment. In the workplace, there’s no need for you to talk about them unless you want to.
Quit Trying On Normal. If you’ve been raised with a learning disability, the number of times you have been shamed as a young person for your behavior may be indelibly etched in your brain. One way to gain confidence is to openly talk about those battles in the past tense. They are successes.
Purposely Position Yourself As Different. Why shy away from it? Who do you know who gets excited about meeting a super-average person? Unique is very 2020. Talk about your flexibility or creativity, your self-awareness and your empathy for others. You’ve survived all the crap doled out in high school and beyond. That means you had to be resilient, make frenemies, use humor as a shield or empathy to gain buy-in. Reframe learning disabilities as leadership qualities in the workplace.
Question Monoculture. Maybe you’ve noticed—the world has no normal these days, whether you are talking politics, bioethics or work-family balance. Think of the business world as being in its teenage years when it comes to disruption. If you have a teenager who asks constantly at school functions, you’ve heard: Can’t you just act normal for once? Of course normal isn’t possible, few parents seem normal to high schoolers. Unless you can self-destruct and disappear in a Lebron-style poof of colored chalk or arrive in JVN style to the parent-teacher conference, they’ll have to deal with you.
Zig When Others Zag. The worst five words my parents ever said to me as a teen? We’re not like other families. Thankfully, times are changing. Standing out and standing up is becoming the new normal. Some people say that not doing things the way other people do makes you uniquely qualified to bring new solutions and ideas to work. If so, maybe you rolled your eyes as in Right, who would believe that line? Interviewees need to be sure they tell their story in a unique way but make their point clear, instructive, interesting and relevant. Most interviewers haven’t yet enough outwardly proud neurodiverse candidates to understand where you are coming from. When they do, you’ll be unforgettable in a good way. No interviewer forgets a great story of redemption, change or caring.
Know Your Craft or Be Enthusiastic About Learning. You will need the hard skills to back up those soft ones. But you may already be a curious, lifelong learner. The more adept you are in your field, the less anxious stressed or blindsided you’ll feel when change happens at work.
Tips for Hiring Managers

As an interviewer, you also need to get comfortable with neurodiversity. This can’t come from a training webinar alone. It comes from talking to real people who are neurodiverse. Meet with or speak with as many different sounding, different-thinking, different looking candidates as you can.

Know About Neurodiversity. Five years ago, Steve Silberman’s award-winning examination of autism, Neurotribes, was published. In it, he explains the idea of neurotypical behavior as existing on a spectrum. He reframes the word normal in positive, human, understandable ways. Another respected researcher and writer, Judy Singer, Neurodiversity: The Birth of An Idea also discussed diverse behaviors that make up a spectrum. The Australian sociologist became well known best for coining the word neurodiversity. In the 1990s, she coined the term as shorthand for a way to explain how there is a variation in the way the human brain socializes, learns and functions. Since then, another word for differentiation has emerged—neurodivergence. Still, many companies persist in wanting to boil their brand and the people who create it down into one culture—one norm. I don’t think one company culture will thrive in 2020.
Don’t Dwell On Labels Or Personality Tests. From a business standpoint, I think it’s important to know about these terms, but also not to dwell on them when it comes to assessing or learning more about different types of employees. More important to me than a label is an intention. Your why? and how? may be different than mine. But the least-acceptable way to use it as a source of discrimination. That discrimination, bias (or ok, unconscious bias) still runs rampant in the business community. Start talking about bias openly.
Listen Or Ask About Preferred Language. Take cues on language from interviewees. Some people want to be referred to as people with disabilities (people-first language) while others want to be referred to, for example, as autistic (vs. a person with autism) because it’s proudly part of their identity. I lean toward not separating a diagnosis and the person. One way is to think about whether you are coming at language in a respectful way or with a positive or negative bias. Do you set up firewalls or create bridges? Businesses today have a lot of firewalls. Build more bridges.
Quit The Normal Business. The rebel leader in me often asks: Why would anyone want to be normal? The disruptor in me asks: What does it mean when something is normalized? In the future, it will mean powerful teams creating more relevant, useful products through collaboration. Few organizations will be in the business of trying to be normal. It even sounds ridiculous when you say it today. Our mission is to save lives and be normal. Our vision is a normal world. We are in the business of creating normal things for normal people. If I was normal, I would say, good luck with that normal project. But proudly, I am not.

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/denisebrodey/2019/10/28/the-best-and-worst-advice-for-job-seekers-and-interviewers-in-a-neurodiverse-world/#c998c834baf1

Cracking the Code of Sustained Collaboration

Ask any leader whether his or her organization values collaboration, and you’ll get a resounding yes. Ask whether the firm’s strategies to increase collaboration have been successful, and you’ll probably receive a different answer.

“No change seems to stick or to produce what we expected,” an executive at a large pharmaceutical company recently told me. Most of the dozens of leaders I’ve interviewed on the subject report similar feelings of frustration: So much hope and effort, so little to show for it.

One problem is that leaders think about collaboration too narrowly: as a value to cultivate but not a skill to teach. Businesses have tried increasing it through various methods, from open offices to naming it an official corporate goal. While many of these approaches yield progress—mainly by creating opportunities for collaboration or demonstrating institutional support for it—they all try to influence employees through superficial or heavy-handed means, and research has shown that none of them reliably delivers truly robust collaboration.

What’s needed is a psychological approach. When I analyzed sustained collaborations in a wide range of industries, I found that they were marked by common mental attitudes: widespread respect for colleagues’ contributions, openness to experimenting with others’ ideas, and sensitivity to how one’s actions may affect both colleagues’ work and the mission’s outcome. Yet these attitudes are rare. Instead, most people display the opposite mentality, distrusting others and obsessing about their own status. The task for leaders is to encourage an outward focus in everyone, challenging the tendency we all have to fixate on ourselves—what we’d like to say and achieve—instead of what we can learn from others.

Daunting as it may sound, some organizations have cracked this code. In studying them I’ve identified six training techniques that enable both leaders and employees to work well together, learn from one another, and overcome the psychological barriers that get in the way of doing both. They all help people connect more fully and consistently. They impress upon employees that there’s a time to listen and explore others’ ideas, a time to express their own, and a time to critique ideas and select the ones to pursue—and that conflating those discussions undermines collaboration.

1. Teach People to Listen, Not Talk
The business world prizes good self-presentation. Employees think a lot about how to make the right impression—how to frame their arguments in discussions with bosses, get their points across in meetings, persuade or coerce their reports to do what they want. (Many also spend serious money on speaking coaches, media trainers, and the like.) This is understandable, given the competitive nature of our workplaces, but it has a cost. My research suggests that all too often when others are talking, we’re getting ready to speak instead of listening. That tendency only gets worse as we climb the corporate ladder.

We fail to listen because we’re anxious about our own performance, convinced that our ideas are better than others’, or both. As a result we get into conflicts that could be avoided, miss opportunities to advance the conversation, alienate the people who haven’t been heard, and diminish our teams’ effectiveness.

When we really listen, on the other hand, our egos and our self-involvement subside, giving everybody the space to understand the situation—and one another—and to focus on the mission. Listening can be improved by these practices:

Ask expansive questions.
This is one of the behaviors encouraged at the animation studio Pixar. People stepping into managerial roles are required to take, among other courses, a 90-minute lunchtime class on the art of listening, which is held in a conference room decorated with posters of movie characters reminding participants to “Stay curious” and “Build on others’ ideas.”

In the class, participants discuss the qualities of great listeners they’ve known (such as generosity in acknowledging the points of others) and practice “active listening.” That means suppressing the urge to interrupt or dominate a conversation, make it about yourself, or solve your conversation partners’ problems, and instead concentrating on the implications of their words. In one exercise participants practice asking their partners open-ended “what” and “how” questions—which prompt people to provide more information, reflect on their situations, and feel more heard—rather than yes-or-no questions, which can kill conversations. For instance, instead of saying to someone “Did you try asking others who’ve worked on similar projects for advice?” participants are coached to ask “In what ways have you reached out to others for advice?” (For more on how to ask good questions, see “Cross-Silo Leadership,” HBR, May–June 2019.)

Focus on the listener, not on yourself.
In another exercise, two coaches act out conversations to illustrate the difference between active listening and not really listening. One coach might say: “I’ve been so sick, and our calendar is so full, and I have this trip planned to see my family. There’s so much to do and I just don’t know how I’m going to pull it all off.” In the not-listening interaction, the other coach responds, “At least you get to go to Europe” or “I’m going to Croatia in two weeks, and I’m really excited.” In the active-listening version, she says, “That sounds really stressful—like you’ll feel guilty for leaving work and guilty if you don’t visit your family.” The coaches then ask the class to share their reactions and try the more effective approach in pairs.

Engage in “self-checks.”
The American roofing-systems unit of Webasto, a global automotive-equipment manufacturer, has developed a good approach to raising employees’ awareness. When Philipp Schramm became its CFO, in 2013, the unit’s financial performance was in a downward spiral. But that was not its only problem. “Something was dysfunctional,” recalls Schramm. “There was no working together, no trust, no respect.” So in 2016 he introduced the Listen Like a Leader course, which features various exercises, some of which are similar to Pixar’s.

Several times throughout the course participants engage in self-checks, in which they critique their own tendencies. People work in small groups and take turns sharing stories about times they’ve failed to listen to others and then reflect on common trends in all the stories.

The self-checks are reinforced by another exercise in which people pair up for multiple rounds of role-playing intended to help participants experience not being heard. One employee is told to describe an issue at work to the other. The listener is instructed to be inattentive during the first round, to parrot the speaker (repeat his or her statements) during the second, and to paraphrase the speaker (restate the message without acknowledging the speaker’s feelings or perspective) during the third. Employees play both roles in each round. The idea is to demonstrate that hearing someone’s words is not enough; you also need to take in the speaker’s tone, body language, emotions, and perspective, and the energy in the conversation. At the end they discuss what that kind of listening can accomplish and how one feels when truly listened to.

Become comfortable with silence.
This doesn’t mean just not speaking; it means communicating attentiveness and respect while you’re silent. And it’s a challenge for those who are in love with the sound of their own voices. Such people dominate discussions and don’t give others who are less vocal or who simply need more time to think an opportunity to talk.

In another exercise at Webasto, people sit in on a conversation simply to listen. They’re instructed to avoid negative nonverbal behavior—such as rolling their eyes when they disagree with someone. The course motto “I am the message!” serves as a reminder to use positive body language when interacting with colleagues.

In successful collaborations, judgment gives way to curiosity.

After taking the Listen Like a Leader class, employees have reported better interactions with their colleagues. Jeff Beatty, a program manager, reflected: “I thought leading was steamrolling people who got in your way—it was about aggressiveness and forcefulness. After going through the class, I can’t believe that my wife has put up with me for 30 years.”

2. Train People to Practice Empathy
Think about the last time you were in a conflict with a colleague. Chances are, you started feeling that the other person was either uncaring or not very bright, my research suggests. Being receptive to the views of someone we disagree with is no easy task, but when we approach the situation with a desire to understand our differences, we get a better outcome.

In successful collaborations, each person assumes that everyone else involved, regardless of background or title, is smart, caring, and fully invested. That mindset makes participants want to understand why others have differing views, which allows them to have constructive conversations. Judgment gives way to curiosity, and people come to see that other perspectives are as valuable as theirs. A couple of approaches can help here.

Expand others’ thinking.
At Pixar an exercise called “leading from the inside out” has participants present a relevant challenge to their collaborators on a project. Then their teammates ask questions but are instructed not to use them as a means of touting their own ideas. Instead, they’re supposed to help the presenter think through the problem differently, without offering judgment about the presenter’s perceptions or approach or those of other questioners. If a presenter describes the challenge of getting a team member to speak up more often in brainstorming meetings, for instance, the questioners could ask, “How has his behavior changed?” or “Are there other contexts where this person is more talkative?” If questioners try to sneak in their ideas or opinions, a coach will ask them to rephrase their questions. “We realize that, though simple, these techniques are hard to implement on a regular basis,” Jamie Woolf, Pixar’s leadership development manager, who serves as one of the two main coaches, told me. “So, when someone is, consciously or not, trying to promote his or her point of view, we intervene so that we give the person an opportunity to apply the technique correctly and others the opportunity to learn.”

With this approach, ideas get full attention and consideration. Creative solutions are generated, and team members feel that they’ve been truly heard.

Look for the unspoken.
An advertising and publicity firm I studied uses a similar approach but also trains participants to pay attention to what people are not saying. If a member of the creative team presents an idea for how to shape an ad campaign to the client’s needs, for instance, the colleagues listening are tasked with trying to understand his or her state of mind. During one session I observed, a colleague said to a presenter, “I noticed your voice was somewhat tentative, as if you were feeling uncertain about your idea. What are some of the strengths and weaknesses you see in it?”

When team members focus on conveying empathy more than on sharing their opinions, I’ve found, everyone feels more satisfied with the discussion. Showing empathy also makes others more likely to ask you for your point of view. Collaboration proceeds more smoothly.

While listening and empathizing allow others more space in a collaboration, you also need the courage to have tough conversations and offer your views frankly. The next three techniques focus on getting people there.

3. Make People More Comfortable with Feedback
Good collaboration involves giving and receiving feedback well—and from a position of influence rather than one of authority. The following methods can help.

Discuss feedback aversion openly.
One of Pixar’s classes trains new managers to provide feedback more often and effectively and also to get better at absorbing it. (For more on the importance of the latter skill, see “Find the Coaching in Criticism,” HBR, January–February 2014.) Coaches first explain that aversion to feedback is common. As givers of it, we want to avoid hurting others. (Even when we know our feedback can be helpful, my research has found, we choose not to provide it.) As recipients, we feel tension between the desire to improve and the desire to be accepted for who we are. The ensuing open discussion of reservations and challenges around feedback helps participants feel less alone.

Make feedback about others’ behavior direct, specific, and applicable.
At Pixar and other organizations, employees are asked to follow three rules for feedback: Be straightforward in both how you address a person and what you say about him or her; identify the particular behavior that worked (or didn’t); and describe the impact of the behavior on you and others. These practices help counteract a common problem: People’s feedback is too general. In an exercise Pixar designed to overcome it, participants are asked to think of a time when they might have offered positive feedback but didn’t, and then write down what they could have said, following the three rules. Next they practice delivering that feedback to a classmate and reflect on the experience. (In another exercise they do the same with critical feedback.) Recipients are asked to talk about their experience getting the feedback.

In this exercise a volunteer reads a piece of feedback that he or she has drafted to the group. The other participants are then asked to identify ways to improve it. If the volunteer says, “You keep missing deadlines,” for instance, the colleagues might suggest more specificity—perhaps “You missed three deadlines in the past month.”

This practice is important because even when we overcome our aversion to giving feedback, we tend not to be specific or direct. As Pixar’s Woolf told me, “Often leaders come to see me right before an important meeting they’re about to have and say, ‘Can I rehearse a bit more? I’m afraid of backpedaling and sugarcoating.’ After some rehearsing they’re able to walk into meetings with greater confidence and more clarity on how they’ll say what they want to say.”

Add a “plus” to others’ ideas.
Whenever a Pixar employee comments on a colleague’s idea or work during a brainstorming session, he or she must offer a “plus”—a suggestion for an improvement that doesn’t include judgment or harsh language. Pixar employees told me that this approach draws on three principles of improv comedy: First, accept all offers—that is, embrace the idea instead of rejecting it. Second, to ensure that you’re building on someone’s idea, say “Yes, and…” rather than “Yes, but…” Third, make your teammate look good by enhancing the scene or project he or she has started.

Provide live coaching.
Though tactics like plussing are well understood at Pixar, it isn’t always easy for employees at the company to put them into practice. For this reason, coaches there attend brainstorming meetings to reinforce good approaches and point out lapses. If a comment or a question doesn’t show “collaborative spirit,” the coach will ask that it be rephrased. Live coaching can be difficult—people are sometimes visibly annoyed by the interruptions—but coaches have learned to pay attention to the personalities in the room and adapt accordingly. For example, rather than asking a director to reframe a comment, a Pixar coach might ask him or her to describe the interaction that just occurred: what worked and what didn’t. “In the moment the feedback may not feel good,” Woolf told me. “As with medicine, it often takes a while for people to see the benefits. But they come to realize that feedback is a gift and is key to their personal development.”

4. Teach People to Lead and Follow
A lot of attention is paid, in the literature and in the practice of management, to what makes a truly effective leader. There has been much less consideration of how to follow, though that, too, is an important skill. In interviews at American Express, I learned that the company’s best collaborators—those known for adding value to interactions and solving problems in ways that left everyone better off—are adept at both leading and following, moving smoothly between the two as appropriate. That is, they’re good at flexing.

During the 17-day campaign to find and rescue a group of boys and their soccer coach from a rapidly flooding cave in Thailand in 2018, more and more people arrived on the scene to help: hydraulic engineers, geologists, divers, SEAL teams, NASA experts, doctors, and local politicians. Only through flexing were these collaborators able to contribute all they could and get the most out of those around them. At one point, for example, an inexperienced engineer proposed an unorthodox plan to use large tubes on the mountain above the cave to divert some of the rainwater that was making diving unsafe. Rather than dismissing the idea, senior engineers flexed, giving it the consideration it deserved. After testing revealed the idea’s promise, it was implemented, and the water stopped rising.

Because flexing requires ceding control to others, many of us find it difficult. A few simple exercises can make people more likely to flex:

Increase self-awareness.
In some of my classes, I ask students to rate themselves relative to their classmates in three areas: their ability to make good decisions, their ability to get along well with others, and their honesty. Then I ask them to compute their average across the three. Most people’s average is higher than 50% and typically in the 70th or 80th percentile, which demonstrates to the students how self-perceptions are often inflated. After all, it’s impossible for a majority of respondents to merit better-than-average ratings across all three desirable dimensions. Unfortunately, our overly optimistic self-perceptions drive our decisions about whether to allow others to have control. So it helps to build self-awareness using this kind of exercise.

Learn to delegate.
This isn’t important just for leaders; it’s also critical for people working on collaborations where multiple experts come together, such as the Thai cave rescue, and on cross-functional team projects. In a training session to help new Pixar managers delegate, participants discuss why it’s so difficult to pass the torch to others and the main reasons we tend to micromanage: It’s hard to let go of control, and we feel responsible for the outcome and are aware that the task needs to get done “right.” So we focus on the short-term results rather than the long-term goal of developing others through delegation. We favor getting the job done—fast—over the reasons for delegating (allowing others to feel engaged and to grow, and allowing ourselves more time and probably higher productivity in the long run). The coaches talk about cases of delegation gone wrong—whose central lesson is the need for trust—and present a four-quadrant chart, the “skill-will model,” which explains how to tailor delegation to the abilities and motivation of those being handed control.

5. Speak with Clarity and Avoid Abstractions
In any collaboration there are times for open discussion of ideas and times when someone, regardless of whether he or she is a leader, needs to cut through the confusion and clearly articulate the path forward. When we communicate with others, psychological research shows, we are often too indirect and abstract. Our words would carry more weight if we were more concrete and provided vivid images of goals. And our statements would also be judged more truthful.

Communication classes both at Pixar and at a large pharmaceutical company I studied included this role-playing exercise: Participants were instructed to think about something they needed to tell a team member and then ask themselves, “What am I trying to accomplish?” They were given time to practice their message. After they delivered it, the person playing the teammate told them whether they in fact had conveyed it with clarity and purpose. And if the teammate couldn’t understand why the conversation was happening, the participant was prompted to ask why and then to reframe the statement to be clearer and more specific and include a purpose. Take a statement like “The project led by our marketing colleagues needs more resources and attention to get to the finish line.” That might be revised as “The project that our marketing colleagues John and Ashley are leading needs an additional $5,000 and two more members to be completed by the end of the month. I believe two of us should volunteer to help, since meeting the deadline is important to maintaining a good relationship with our client.”

6. Train People to Have Win-Win Interactions
I often ask students to work in pairs to think through how to divide an orange. Each partner is told, without the other’s knowledge, a reason for wanting the fruit: One needs to make juice, and the other needs the peel for a muffin recipe. If they fail to explore each other’s interests, as most pairs do, the partners may end up fighting over the orange. Or they may decide to cut it in half, giving each side an equal if smaller-than-ideal share. Some people even quit when they can’t get the whole orange.

When we communicate, we are often too indirect and abstract.

Only a few pairs arrive at the optimal solution, in which one person gets the peel, the other gets the juice, and both are satisfied. How did they get there? By investigating each other’s needs.

This approach is the key to win-win interactions. In the successful collaborative projects I examined, people were open about their personal interests and how they thought they could contribute to solving the problem. Such transparency allows participants to explore everyone’s vision of winning and, ultimately, get more-favorable results.

Many organizations I’ve studied teach leaders and employees to find win-win solutions through exercises in which each participant has information that others lack—as is true in most real-world collaborations—and all are asked to try to reach the best deal possible for everyone. Afterward, the instructors suggest techniques that could have helped the parties discover one another’s interests better—such as asking questions and listening carefully—and produce more-successful deals. Sometimes the conversations are videotaped and shown to participants after they’ve had the chance to guess how much of the airtime they got in discussions.

By balancing talking (to express your own concerns and needs) with asking questions and letting others know what your understanding of their needs is, you can devise solutions that create more value. With a win-win mindset, collaborators are able to find opportunities in differences.

Because the six techniques are mutually supportive and even interdependent, it’s ideal for employees to learn and regularly use them all. It’s difficult to have win-win interactions if you spend most of your time talking, and it’s tough to learn about others’ interests if you don’t approach interactions with empathy. And conversations won’t be productive if you only listen and don’t offer your views—a balance is required.

The techniques also create a positive dynamic: Teammates with whom they’re practiced start feeling more respected and in turn are more likely to show others respect. And respect, my research shows, fuels enthusiasm, fosters openness to sharing information and learning from one another, and motivates people to embrace new opportunities for working together.

But this dynamic must be set in motion by those in charge. Many leaders—even ones steeped in enlightened management theory—fail to consistently treat others with respect or to do what it takes to earn it from others.

Leaders who are frustrated by a lack of collaboration can start by asking themselves a simple question: What have they done to encourage it today? It is only by regularly owning their own mistakes, listening actively and supportively to people’s ideas, and being respectful but direct when challenging others’ views and behavior that they can encourage lasting collaboration. By training people to employ the six techniques, leaders can make creative, productive teamwork a way of life.

Source : https://hbr.org/2019/11/cracking-the-code-of-sustained-collaboration

The Legal Impact of AI on HR

It’s a fair question considering its growing use in everyday life. It’s also a question that can and should be debated, especially when looking at it through the lens of human resources. Privacy issues. Data issues. Issues of bias. And those are just a few of the big ones. That said, the purpose of this article isn’t to argue for or against the use of AI as an HR tool, but to look at the current state of the legal situation around the technology.

AI and Legality
This year alone the federal government and several state governments have started to take action on issues related to artificial intelligence. In some cases, lawmakers have already legislated artificial intelligence-related technology and how it can be used. None of the laws thus far, save for one, were specific to human resources, but that could certainly change.

Even with the potential legal issues, the use of AI in HR is on the up-and-up. In our 2019 HR Tech Global Report, we asked how companies were using artificial intelligence. In both 2017 and 2018, the majority of respondents said they weren’t using the technology. But those that were using it, mostly, say they’ve applied to their recruiting strategy. Additionally, note the use of chat bots rose from 2017 to 2018; from three percent to 12 percent.

For more findings and to download the full 2019 HR Tech Global Report from the HR Exchange Network, click here.

In a study from Oracle and Future Workplace LLC, about 53 percent of all U.S. businesses are using some type of AI-driven technology. The global average of AI adoption is around the 50 percent mark. That’s up around 18 points from just the previous year when the number was around 32 percent.

There are even some who believe legislation around AI could drive that number up even more and compel more companies to adopt artificial intelligence. Patrick Thibodeau quoted a consultant in his article on the topic who said “laws could create better transparency around AI and help provide an ethical framework for its use.”

Federal AI Laws
So far, not much as really happened regarding AI at the federal level.

In April, a bill was introduced focusing on regulations related to automated decision making systems. The Algorithmic Accountability Act would give the Federal Trade Commission the ability to regulate this particular AI technology. The legislation was filed in the U.S. Senate by New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden. New York Democratic Representative Yvette Clarke is sponsoring the U.S. House version of the bill. So far, no action has been taken.

State AI Laws
There has been more action on these types of laws at the state level.

Illinois was one of the first states to create a specific HR artificial intelligence-related law. It regulates how AI-enabled video to screen job candidates is to be used. When the law goes into effect next year, businesses using the technology will be required to tell job candidates they are using it, how it works and what it is analyzing from the recorded video.

In California, the state has regulated the use of chat bots. The “Bolstering Online Transparency” or B.O.T. Bill became law on July 1, 2019. According to WIRED, the law “requires all bots that attempt to influence California residents’ voting or purchasing behaviors to conspicuously declare themselves.” In other words, the person interacting with the bot must be told they’re interacting with a bot.

There is no indication, however, the B.O.T. Bill in anyway impacts HR, but there’s no doubt as HR implements the technology more and more there will be some form of legal regulation around its use.

“The most common ways workers prefer to tap AI is to get unbiased information, maintain work schedules and solve specific problems. That could mean launching a chatbot (an AI-powered service that allows users to ask questions and receive answers) to answer questions around company policies, health insurance information, remaining vacation days, conflict resolution and so on…”

Jennifer Liu, Reporter, CNBC

In Summation
HR professionals, at least right now, are waiting to see how the artificial intelligence issue shakes out in the months and years to come. The technology is continuing to learn and change. As it does, so too will human resources’ use of the technology. This article clearly demonstrates companies must be aware and prepared to temper artificial intelligence initiatives within context of the legal system. Knowing what information is being collected and how it’s being used must always be top of mind.

And prepared to be transparent.

There is no doubt new guidelines will need to be developed, not only to determine how companies and organizations use the technology, but to put in place key security and privacy regulations. These will be needed to protect employees AND their employers from data hackers to bias and everything in between.

Source : https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/hr-tech/articles/ais-legal-impact-on-hr

Can You Be A Friend And Still Be The Boss?

While it’s essential to build solid bonds with your team and colleagues, defining areas of respect, authority and productivity can be challenging when navigating the line between boss and friend. A recent Gallup survey shows 75% of workers have quit their jobs voluntarily because of a bad boss and not the position itself.

Studies conducted by Gallup, show having friends in the workplace makes you more engaged and happier, and that companies enjoy higher profitability and customer loyalty when friendships among colleagues are common.

The modern workplace is vastly different from how it used to be. In today’s office, it’s not uncommon for the founder of a start-up to be younger than some of the team members they manage. Job promotions can place one peer in charge of their friends. The CEO of a small business may find the process of upscaling a challenge, as roles become more formalized and the business becomes more serious.

In a survey by the Center for Creative Leadership which examined the main challenges of nearly 300 first-time managers, almost two-thirds cited the transition from friend to boss as their biggest hurdle.
Benefits Of Friends At Work
Research shows that employee performance is significantly enhanced when co-workers develop a strong friendship. As a boss, there are benefits to becoming closer to your employees:

Increased trust: Knowing an employee well can translate to increased levels of trust and understanding in the workplace, allowing both parties to be more engaged and committed to supporting each other.

Loyalty: Strong bonds outside of work can forge an increased sense of loyalty at work.

Support: A mutual friendship makes it easier those you manage to ask for help, increase knowledge sharing and improve confidence all-round.

Better communication: Maintaining communication within a friendship can help translate into better communication professionally too.

Happiness: Being friends and forming bonds with employees enables you to speak freely, share frustrations and successes, and generally increase feelings of happiness.
Common Challenges When Transitioning from Friend to Boss
Inconsistency: It’s tough stepping in to reprimand a friend, but it’s important to maintain consistency across the board and not give someone a ‘free pass’ because you are friends.

Taking sides: Jumping to the defense of a friend is easy to do but as the boss. It’s your responsibility to be as impartial as possible and look at the whole picture before making decisions so you don’t appear to be picking favourites.

Resentment: Other colleagues may find it hard to respect your new position and test the boundaries. It’s important to communicate and ensure you both know what the boundaries are.

Oversharing: As the boss, you should be able to speak freely and share frustrations with friends but beware of oversharing. Employees don’t need to know every problem the company experiences, and in some cases shouldn’t know sensitive company information.

Blaming: Having a friend you can trust at work is great for support, but don’t take frustrations out on them in the hopes that they can take it better than the employees you aren’t as close with.

Exhaustion: It can become emotionally draining to maintain the care-free friend persona while juggling stress, other work relationships, and valuable business goals. Be sure to look after yourself in order to avoid burnout.

Talk about the ‘power shift’: Acknowledging the changing dynamics is the first step to ensuring your friendship stays strong even in the context of business. Don’t assume the uneasiness will disappear if you ignore it, or that the change in roles will naturally balance itself out.

Be fair: Don’t feel the need to downplay your friendships with employees but be sensitive to the feelings of other staff members. Stay consistent in your treatment of everyone so that no one feels betrayed by any seemingly special favours.

Get to know all your employees: Personal preferences shouldn’t get in the way of cultivating good relationships with employees, so try to get to know everyone.

Avoid gossip: Gossip between two colleagues is one thing but, as the boss, it’s your job to avoid this completely and know when to step away or speak up.

Find someone else to talk to: It goes without saying that as management, you’re privy to more information than anyone else. That said, avoid the need to share too much information with friends and rather find a suitable peer to discuss relevant matters. You can also speak to a neutral party who has no ties to your organization should you need further insight into a situation.

Be okay with not being liked: You’re not always going to be popular and that’s something you have to accept. Resolve conflict where you can but always remember that it’s up to you to make the tough decisions.

Don’t always take yourself too seriously: Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you can’t take some downtime with your team to unwind and relax. Working with people you respect, and who respect you back, will ensure that socializing and friendships are easy to separate from working relationships.

Mind your language: It’s easy to fall into friend mode with employees you’re close to but remember at work it’s important to also command respect, so you must find a balance.

Hire the right people: Invest in a solid recruitment strategy to find potential hires that fit your company culture. Employ people who naturally understand, and navigate, the line between friend and boss without pushing the boundaries. Look for employees who can respect you while still feeling comfortable enough to speak openly to you.

Don’t cross the line: Research by Glassdoor shows 6 in 10 managers say they are uncomfortable being friended on Facebook by their bosses or the employees they oversee, so even if you like to cultivate friendships, be aware that not every employee will want the same dynamic.


Succession Planning: From Piecemeal Programs To Integrated Strategy

Studies show a growing sense of urgency for succession planning. One survey found 92% of respondents felt it was risky not to have a succession plan for key employees but only 25% of companies feel they’ve identified adequate successor candidates and less than half have a process for developing candidates. Other research shows 70% of executives think their organization lacks adequate bench strength while nearly 75% of senior managers will retire by 2020. An HR software study reported that over 90% of millennials say working at a company with a clear succession plan would “improve” their level of engagement. Another report found that promoting internal leaders has a success rate of 70-80% while the rate for external leadership hires drops to 50% — about the same as flipping a coin.

Many organizations recognize the critical need for succession planning. But the way they’re approaching this talent development challenge is with piecemeal programs. Too often, internal support specialists such as HR, OD, or Talent Management professionals manage the program. They focus on tools like the 9 box grid, competency models, and organization charts. These tools are highly useful. But they’re severely limited when they’re bolted on the side of the senior leadership team’s crazy-busy agenda.

In high-performing organizations, tools and approaches like succession planning are owned and driven by the senior leadership team. They understand that the implementation of their strategies and plans are highly dependent on culture development. Talent and leadership development are a vital strategic issue as vigorously managed as sales, marketing, operations, or finance.

Executives often check out (and start checking their email) when a deck of slides is read to them on succession planning tools, models, and processes. But if the senior leadership team is engaged in rich discussions on what their succession issues are and how to address them, they’ll quickly shift from passive approvers of their support staff’s plans to active leaders and drivers of the process. This becomes even more effective when senior leaders link succession planning to their strategy and culture.

Here are key steps for bringing a senior leadership team into alignment in moving succession planning from bolt-on programs to a built-in strategic process:

Establish foundational frameworks for leadership/culture development grounded in research. Examples: Excellence/culture models, Performance Balance, or 5 Steps to High-Performance Culture.
Agree on a shared vision of your desired culture.
Set/refresh the three or four core values anchoring your desired culture.
Define the behaviors that model each core value and the negative behaviors that create eye-rolling “yeah, right” reactions to each core value. The clearest signal of an organization’s lived (versus espoused) values is who gets promoted for what behaviors.
Use a safe and anonymous process to identify moose-on-the-table (or elephants in the room) and what must be dealt with to move toward your desired culture.
Agree on three or four Strategic Imperatives to address your “moose issues” and build an implementation plan for your desired culture. Set up teams for each Strategic Imperative with ownership/accountability, charter/mandate, and timelines.
Decide on core succession planning tools such as 9 box framework, a competency model for hiring, promoting, and development, high potential programs, software, talent pools, etc.

What’s critical to this approach is managing group dynamics, meeting flow, and discussion process. A skilled, external facilitator with a toolkit of group processes, exercises, and applications has a huge impact on the success of planning sessions like this.

In their Harvard Business Review article, “Developing Your Leadership Pipeline,” Jay Conger and Robert Fulmer report that high-performing organizations marry succession planning with leadership development. “At the foundation of a shift toward succession management is a belief that leadership talent directly affects organizational performance. This belief sets up a mandate for the organization: attracting and retaining talented leaders.”


How to Transform a Boring Office into a Flexible Workspace

In the age of open layout offices and co-working workspaces, it’s becoming increasingly crucial for your company to adopt some office design principles that other names are now hopping on. The old ways of having cubicles for desks and many partitions won’t cut it out anymore. Instead, employees favor a collaborative workspace that can provide them with their needs.

But, it’s not enough to give your employees laptops and a place to sit and meet. A flexible workspace goes beyond the standard needs of your team members, giving them something that integrates with their lifestyles.

This includes avenues that can help them in achieving a healthy work-life balance, such as staying fit in the workplace. After all, they do spend a third of their day, sometimes more, inside the confines of your office.

There are many advantages to having a flexible workspace. Studies have shown a positive correlation in terms of how it affects office productivity. The majority of today’s workers favor an office space with health and wellness amenities such as sit-stand desks, healthy meal options, fitness benefits, a positive atmosphere, and the like.

So, how do you go about transforming a boring office? The first step lies in asking your staff about their needs and listing them down. Are the changes they’re requesting doable? Will it pose long-term benefits for your company? These are just some of the first couple of questions you should ask before you make your moves.

If you’re looking for a simple step-by-step guide to achieve this, you came to the right place. In the post below, we’ll be discussing some actionable tips on how you can revamp your workspace and give suggestions on the kind of furniture you should fill it with, as well as go in-depth on the benefits of this type of office setup.

Source : https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=11894886&article-title=how-to-transform-a-boring-office-into-a-flexible-workspace&blog-domain=gethppy.com&blog-title=get-hppy

8 Ways to Build a Culture of Teamwork in the Workplace

Building an effective team is one of the great challenges — and rewards — of management. According to recent research conducted by Reflektive, the vast majority (81%) of the survey group said that they frequently work as part of a team; however, teamwork is still a major pain point.

Forty-six percent reported working on teams is difficult due to different working styles, and more than 90% of workers find it difficult to contribute in a meaningful way in teams of six or more people. Even still, employees who work for organizations with good cross-functional team alignment are 98% more likely to recommend their company as a great place to work.

Simply acknowledging the importance of teamwork isn’t enough: you need to incorporate team-building strategies into your corporate culture.

Here’s how.

1. Build Trust
Of all the successful team building characteristics, trust is the most important. No team works well without trust. When a team divides up task responsibilities for a project, employees need to be able to trust that their colleagues will get their jobs done. Team members need to have faith in each other, their manager, and the larger organization.

Building trust into corporate culture can be a long process. Managers can encourage trust by supporting team efforts, building interpersonal relationships with team members through regular 1:1 meetings, and advocating for the team as needed. Trust won’t mysteriously appear overnight: it takes time and effort. Without it, however, you don’t have a team, just a group of employees.

2. Provide Opportunities to Collaborate
Building an effective team is much easier if your organization makes collaboration an expected part of the work environment. When employees are used to collaborating (and receiving the support and tools needed to collaborate), they’re more effective when assigned to teams. Outside of formally assigned teams, collaboration makes it easier for employees to receive assistance and feedback from colleagues when they ask for it. Successful collaboration builds interpersonal relationships and trust, making future collaboration more likely.

DOWNLOAD THE E-BOOK: The Ultimate Guide to Employee Engagement Surveys

3. Interdepartmental Communication
Communication between team members is, of course, important, but it’s vital to remember that everyone in an organization is part of the same team. Efficient communication should be a goal not just between team members, but between teams and entire departments. Keeping the lines of communication open helps prevent misunderstandings, reduces the risk of duplicated work, and encourages departments to support each other’s efforts. HR software can help ensure everyone in the organization is on the same page and not siloed.

4. Sharing Goals
Working toward a common goal, like trust, is another successful team characteristic. When a team decides on an objective, they work toward it as a group and succeed (or fail) together. Build shared goals into your corporate culture by making goals visible and well-known. When other teams and departments understand the objective a team is working up to, they’re more likely to help where they can and cheer on the team to success.

5. Capitalize on Diversity
One of the great advantages of teamwork occurs when employees with different skill sets and life experiences come together. Diversity brings a range of different perspectives to a team project, improving brainstorming sessions and encouraging out-of-the-box thinking. Two people can perform the same task and have two very different opinions of it. A diverse team brings these differences to the forefront and examines them, often with powerful results.

6. Advocate for Your Team
A team manager holds many responsibilities, but perhaps the most important is her or her role as an advocate. As the team leader, it’s your role to go to bat for your team and to make sure they have the tools and resources needed to complete their objectives. When the team comes up with an unorthodox approach to a problem, you’re the one who convinces upper management the idea will work. Advocating tells your team you have their back, giving them the confidence to be creative and take risks.

7. Celebrate Team Achievements
Employees value formal recognition for their efforts. Use this desire to foster a culture of teamwork by recognizing and rewarding employees who make outstanding team members. As employees realize the company values collaboration (and recognizes those who collaborate), they’ll be more likely to value teamwork.

8. Use Project Management Tools
No matter how many successful team characteristics your employees display, their effectiveness in team situations will be limited without access to the right tools. Project and performance management systems help team members interact, provide helpful feedback to each other, and stay up-to-date on the status of critical tasks. Investing in such tools sends a clear signal that your organization values and fosters a team-based culture.

Source : https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=11916462&article-title=8-ways-to-build-a-culture-of-teamwork-in-the-workplace&blog-domain=reflektive.com&blog-title=reflektive