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Leadership Development Program Metrics: Use Measures That Work for You

We are inundated with many different approaches for measuring learning and development. Many smart people are measuring numerous aspects associated with learning, and it works for their companies. But is it right for you?

Leadership Development Program Metrics Suppose you attend a conference and get excited about one method, then another. They all sound great. You can’t contain your passion so fly back to the office to share all of the cool measures. But the organization does not show the same enthusiasm for the new measures and you’re fired.

Let’s replay this scenario to get a better ending. Imagine that you have some key questions to help you determine which measures would most impact your company? What might those questions be? Try these:

  • What measures are used to make decisions in your operation and culture?
  • Why does your Corporate University measure? Is it to improve the learner’s experience? Or workforce capability? Is it to improve the University’s products? Is it to improve the logistics of electronic or classroom delivery? Is it to determine the strategic direction of the University? Is it to evaluate the performance of your partners, suppliers, vendors? Is it to develop the talent in your University? Is it to guide the financial aspect of your University? Measure ROI? Is to monitor resource loading, etc., for planning purposes? Is it to justify the University’s value? Is it to provide audit evidence for ISO, TL, QS, SEI, or Baldrige? Is it to comply with what someone told you to?
  • What is needed in the areas you wish to measure? What problems are you trying to solve? Most likely you can’t measure everything. Use whatever quantitative or qualitative data you have to pick a focus.
  • What unit of measure and what source of the data will be meaningful or convincing to your audience? Don’t guess. Find out.
  • How might the audience interpret the data that results from the measure? What results might be seen as “good” vs “bad”?
  • How might the audience use the data? How do you want it to be used? How might you influence its use?
  • What data already exists in the company that might be leveraged? Who is using that data today? For what purpose are people using that data today?
  • Measuring Leadership Development Program Effectiveness How might the audience wish to see the data presented? When? Where?
  • What company initiatives with strong management support might you join in on to provide a relevant learning measure?
  • If the measure will require funding (new system, IT upgrade) is there a senior sponsor who can provide such funding?
  • What is the appetite of your audience for measures? You may need to throttle back or forward depending on this.

Every time someone speaks about a measure that works for their University that is consistent with what is important in their culture and with their day-to-day decision-making operations, we tend to focus our questions on the mechanics of the measure. You might ask those speaking about measurements, “Why did you select that measure?” You might follow-up with some of the above questions or new ones. Using a question-bank will stimulate you to think of more and better questions!

Understanding the thought process behind the measures selection and implementation will help you to understand whether the measure is right measure for your University and company. With so many measures and so little time, you need to know: what are the key few measures that will provide the most impact?

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Posted in Management and Leadership

When Leadership Styles Clash: Marissa Mayer at Google

'Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo' by Nicholas Carlson (ISBN 1455556610) Differences in leadership style can cause friction in a relationship. Two noteworthy anecdotes from Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo by Nicholas Carlson:

One peer Mayer’s style irked in particular was Salar Kamangar. Kamangar joined Google as its ninth employee. He drafted its original business plan and handled financing and legal early on. Younger than Mayer, he rose along with her at Google, though not as conspicuously. Mayer and Kamangar clashed often. The specific habit of Mayer’s that drove Kamangar nuts was her ability to speak incredibly fast, not allowing him to reenter the debate. The rivalry between Mayer and Kamangar was so intense that when Kamangar was made a vice president before her, she threatened to quit the company. She got her promotion months later. That kind of naked ambition was also hard for some people to take. Many early Google employees believed Mayer was too quick to take credit for successful products that were either first imagined by or built on the back end by others.

And:

Starting in 2001, Mayer and a deeply respected Google search scientist named Krishna Bharat teamed up to build Google News. Bharat was one of the engineers who had followed Jeff Dean from DEC to Google. Bharat was renowned for his work in information processing and information retrieval-the real, gritty technical stuff that makes a search engine work. Bharat had an interest in news-and in doing semantic analysis of documents. Those interests led him to develop the underpinnings of the technology that would eventually become central to Google News. With Mayer, he worked to turn that technology into a product for normal users. To the equation, she brought a sense of how users would actually interact with Google News. It was a healthy relationship for a long time. Then Google News began to get very popular. It was one of Google’s first noncore search products to achieve escape velocity. Rightly, both Bharat and Mayer felt pride of parenthood. The difference was that Bharat, like many engineers, was the quiet, cerebral type. Mayer was more of a self-promoter with outward-facing responsibilities. In the press, at conferences, even in lectures at Stanford, she would casually discuss Google News as a product she had led to launch. Over time, it began to sound to Bharat that Mayer was claiming the idea as her own and taking all the public credit for the success of Google News. Their relationship soured.

It’s difficult to change the leadership style and yet it’s easier to change the style than the system.

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19 Types of Leadership Styles

Types of Leadership Styles Which means we all have the ability to provide leadership in some way: as professionals, as parents, as spouses, and as friends. To find a reason to want to lead we only need remember that when we provide leadership, we create value. And value creation creates happiness. Few things bring as much satisfaction as a job well done. They opposed the centralization of authority in the revolutionary leadership, agitating for moderation and “democracy”, and they enacted a number of important social reforms.

We are re-evaluating leaders, downgrading those who are guided by history, not vision; by what they know, not what they can find out; by what has worked before, not what works now; by a sense of power, not a sense of people. From experience, I draw these 19 types who are less than real leaders:

  1. Manipulator. He believes everyone has a price. He exploits the system and mistrusts people who have no hidden agenda or naked ambition or who appear to be straight arrows. Whatever his self-indulgence, he expects it to be reflected in his people. He is attracted to those who display similar inclinations. Using fear and intimidation, he manipulates people.
  2. Types of Leadership Styles: Frustrated Participant Frustrated Participant. He wants to believe in the system and sees himself as dedicated, loyal, and ambitious. He absorbs inconsistency in policy, flagrant violation of fairness, and blatant duplicity without protest or complaint, feeling he must protect the company’s image. He anticipates his boss’ needs, whether appropriate or not, feeling that it is safer to go along to get along rather than to challenge a boss.
  3. Inside Outsider. He experiences inclusion, but not as a player. Ever the outsider, he is a specialist with skills but never with line authority. He may have impressive credentials, pay his dues, and be initiated into the culture of the elite, but he is never identified by it as “one of us.” Much as he tries to enhance his status, his unique skills only exaggerate the difference, eclipsing his perceived effectiveness. So, he experiences being needed but not wanted. If he can handle this, he will be tolerated. If not, he will lose his influence and his station.
  4. Winning Side Saddler. He is a pyramid climber, pleaser, anticipator, and executer, dispatching issues before they become problems, endearing him to his bosses. He is a chameleon with no coherent point of view, a hunch player who knows every verse of the “CYA” book. He tells you what you want and expect to hear. The more uptight people are, the more prominent his role, as he provides a buffer to the ugly edges of reality. In case of a power shift, he has already saddled the winning horse.
  5. Types of Leadership Styles: Nostalgic Elitist Nostalgic Elitist. He is a vestige of past glory who lives in a black-and-white world of workers and managers, thinkers and doers, educated and the ignorant. He takes cynical delight in the vocabulary of “social change,” as he sees it changing nothing, merely manipulating fads and slogans with smoke and mirrors. He prefers fixed structures and closed systems. He can’t fathom why his authority is challenged, why the less gifted are to be treated as equals, or why his superiority is not self-evident.
  6. Waiter in the Wings. He appreciates both his potential and obstacles to success. While others complain about change, he is husbanding his resources, planning tactics, and developing strategy. he has no plans to tie his future to a sinking ship. Operationally, he makes himself indispensable, balancing stealth with openness, insouciance with results. He is waiting in the wings to make his move. As relaxed as he seems, he is wound as tight as piano wire. He can only wait so long before he moves on.
  7. Happy in Harness. He accepts his role because he loves what he does, never wanting to be anything else. Each promotion is a genuine surprise. By nature, he is appreciative and generous, easy to work with or for, competent without being righteous, confident without being arrogant. He creates a climate for growth. He is trusted and fair, consistent and honest. He would never countermand an executive order or bad-mouth a superior. He takes pride in his position.
  8. Quiet Soldier. He is more comfortable as a follower and identifies with the aspirations and frustrations of his subordinates. By inclination, he is a doer rather than a thinker, an implementer rather than, an innovator. He is a frustration to those in charge. They see him having the talent but not the resolve to accept risk or do more. Moody and taciturn, he is apt to accept untenable situations rather than do something about them. His predilection to wait for orders can derail projects and miss deadlines.
  9. Victim. The victim has a martyr complex. He expects to be trusted without being trustworthy, given cherished assignments without being dependable, and taken at his word without being credible. Call it tunnel vision, myopia, or hindsight, he has it. He delights in the failures of others, but finds no humor when others delight in his. When others fail, they’re incompetent; when he fails, others let him down. He claims other people ban him because of his race, religion, ethnicity, status, education, accent, or origin. If that fails, he is discriminated against because he is too fat, thin, short, tall, old, young, quiet, or loud. He justifies his performance—and he wants blame put on everything and everybody.
  10. Types of Leadership Styles: Unbending Idealist Unbending Idealist. He idealizes life and lives in a dream world. He is a product of film and television and prefers to see the world as it should be and himself as a savior of lost causes and lost souls, explaining away failures and suspect conduct. Consequences are suspended, forgiven, or ignored. The idealist suffers incurably from naivete, failing to see it as compassionate condescension. With every failure he reinvents himself, never seeming to register the folly of his ways. His idealism drops like a stone into cynicism once brutal reality meets unbending idealism.
  11. Adventurer. Consumed with the adventure, he is out to push the envelope. When cornered, he comes out swinging with a “red pencil,” a caustic remark, or an exception to the rule. He can lie with a straight face, looking his accuser in the eye. He has no sense of consequences, as it never occurs to him that he might be caught, humiliated, and terminated. Constantly challenging himself to be more sensational, he cuts corners, fakes results, doctors the books, invents fictitious deeds, and musters the support of legitimate doers by guile, vanity, and flattery.
  12. Spin Doctor. As the public relations conduit, he is the eyes and ears and voice of authority. His concern—to put a good face on a bad situation—requires him to be a good liar. He tends to reduce everything to PR speak with cavalier flamboyance, dismissing the facts, often believing in his own rhetoric or press release. He is apt to be a quick-witted, congenial, backstage performer.
  13. Reluctant Soldier. Neither leader nor follower, he simply is. Everyone knows and tolerates him. No one expects anything from him, and nobody does anything about him. He’s been at the same job at the same level for years and received increased compensation and entitlements for doing less and less. Survival is his sharpest tool.
  14. Types of Leadership Styles: Unforgivable Prodigal Son Unforgivable Prodigal Son. This person once stumbled badly. His faux pas was of such magnitude to embarrass the company but not warrant dismissal. Once he was punished, he returned to his job stigmatized, and became a pariah with his guilt whispered behind his back. New people are told to stay clear of him. He tells new people of his crime before they ask. Gossip and innuendo are his weapons of mass emotional destruction.
  15. Over Achiever. By educating himself beyond his intelligence or by pushing his ambition to the brink, he is exposed to situations beyond his capacity to cope. Action is his call and shooting from the hip is his modus operandi. He has a surface acumen that is engaging and catches the eye of his superiors. His intensity is contagious. He is likeable and agreeable. He has lived so long with his limitations, which he hides in a swirl of activity, that they have become assets. He is better suited to manage things than people.
  16. Messianic Manager. He sees himself as a savior. His approach to modify reality is to create the culture that supports the interests of the organization and fulfills the needs of workers and, voila! Leaders and workers get off the dime, move on to the same page, and work gets done. He thinks that giving workers everything but the kitchen sink will cause them to applaud leadership with high-level performance. This does not happen. Rather, the culture stumbles into a permissive complacency, where workers waffle in terminal adolescence.
  17. Pained Participant. He is able, but the world is organized against him. A tragic figure, he is like a Dante who has lost the keys to his own inferno, caged in the pain of self-pity, seeing his situation as unique and his dilemma untenable. He wrestles with his confusion in dialectic, which he will gladly share with you. Life is against him because he doesn’t have the right parents, proper education, or the breaks. He is in a cage of his making with an invisible ceiling enclosed in invisible walls. Life, the system, the company, circumstances have all wronged him. His anxieties plague operations.
  18. Types of Leadership Styles: Missionary Missionary. He spreads the gospel according to the corporate fathers to the masses. He does this without question or reflection. He is an acolyte, and they are his knowing masters. When this mission is consistent with what is needed, everything works smoothly. When the mission conflicts with need, derailing momentum and causing tension, he takes responsibility. He is on a mission to help people be in sync with policy. He has a strong character but a narrow point of view.
  19. The Professional. The professional’s degree and title are often used to justify his pay grade and benefit package. He is rarely schooled in the discipline of his charges but believes that he can manage anything. He feels ordained to position, power, and perks. He has this romantic notion of being instantly gratified with affluence, prestige, privilege and trust without earning any of it. Lost on him is the import of experience and the benefit of failure in learning. For him, acquiring credentials is a way to avoid struggle and pain. He wants a position, not a job; desires authority without accountability; and expects to be measured in terms of time spent doing rather than results. To him, having presence is more effective than purpose; making an impression more defining than making a difference; having a winning personality more the focus than winning performance. He is programmed to behave in learned helplessness.

Contrast these types of leaderships with someone who genuinely believes themselves to be a capable leader. Such a person can recognize their mistakes without succumbing to paralyzing insecurity. They can counterattack pleas for inappropriate special treatment lacking fair justification because to give in wouldn’t fit with their vision of good leadership and because they can survive being disliked. Others may disagree with their decisions, disapprove of their vision, but seldom question their skills as a leader.

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Five Tools & Techniques for Performance Improvement

Five Tools & Techniques for Performance Improvement If you are witnessing unhappy customers, uninformed employees, and mounting chaos in your company, you are experiencing a performance gap—the difference between the outcomes you expect and what you are getting. With today’s pressure for results, you’ll need fast, simple tools to close your performance gap. By applying such tools, you can reap big paybacks in the form of steady gains.

By performance improvement, I mean more revenue, lower costs, and more done in less time with fewer resources. Flexibility is needed to adapt to changing demands and to devise innovative methods for improving productivity and service quality. Customers who get more than they expect then tell their friends, and keep coming back.

Key to performance improvement are people who produce more with better information, greater clarity, and less interference. A performance improvement project is a related group of tasks resulting in measurable improvement. Most successful changes “bubble up” from the bottom. Building one by one may be more effective than a large-scale, top-down strategy. Investing in employee education is an important signal that the organization is committed to the personal growth of everyone on the team.

Already energetic characters on any large scale are becoming merely traditional. Improvement in the means of communication promotes it, by bringing the inhabitants of distant places into personal contact, and keeping up a rapid flow of changes of residence between one place and another. Not only that, but the best answer often changes over time.

Five Tools to Improve Employee Engagement and Performance

So here are five tips for how to accelerate your performance and reach your own peak sooner. Five tools will lead to desirable results and help you get to the right place:

  1. Measurable outcomes. This involves reliable measures such as revenue, cost, time, quality, and customer satisfaction. By documenting measures before, during, and after the project, you can gauge success. Qualitative measures must translate into observable behavior. Develop clear statements of what that measure means and specific actions needed to attain the goal. Know who will be affected and how, as well as what will improve, and by how much.
  2. Your plan. Write an airtight description of your project’s boundaries, benefits, costs, and risks—then name those accountable for results. For each task, you’ll perform five actions: complete, approve, support, consult with, and inform. Specify the person associated with each action. The faster you produce your desired outcome, the easier you will build momentum.

Measurable outcomes Improve Employee Engagement and Performance

  • Effective problem analysis of the selected performance. Break the problem down into smaller, simpler pieces, looking for a pattern. Formulate and test theories. Observe and collect data until you figure out what is going on and why. Don’t throw resources at your problem in a vain attempt to solve it by sheer luck. Avoid wasteful spending on training, software, and experts—the three sinkholes. A problem well defined is 75 percent solved! In some cases you are not dealing with a problem, but an unrealized opportunity to impact the organization.
  1. A reliable feedback system. People want to know what and how well they are doing. You could set up simple charts, one for each success indicator. Depict progress and downplay minor setbacks. Cumulative measures, for instance, may be better than daily, weekly, or monthly ones. Exchange feedback during one-on-one conversations, informal chats, and small-group meetings. Inspire confidence early and adjust as you go along.
  2. A system for collecting and applying what you learn about performance improvement. Know-how (in-house talent) is far better than “show-how” (pricey experts). Conduct an after-action review to convert real-time learning into practical knowledge. Work through answers to questions about what should and did happen during an event.

Techniques Used to Improve Employee Performance

Tips for Employee Performance Improvement Quickly build and transfer skills, so participants can see benefits right away. The tasks that find their way to the bottom are the ones that you should eliminate altogether. But too often we say it with a sigh, like it’s a sentence—or we’re a victim. It can easily become pessimistic, and nothing will kill your creativity, job performance, or relationships like going negative.

If the diagnosis of performance anxiety is correct, it’s astonishing how often paradoxical intervention works. This, even knowing as most of us do that facts and figures about past performance are often flawed indicators of future performance. With that kind of visibility and transparency in performance, it’s easy to call it the way you see it. Again, the combination of competitive insight and cost understanding drives efforts to reduce costs.

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Tips for Mentors and Mentees

Tips for Being a Great Mentor

Mentorship Experience: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett Having a great mentor can do wonders for your professional development and career. Describe what you’ve learned from them and how those skills will help your career going forward. Don’t focus on the relationship’s inadequacies—accentuate the positive. Effective mentorship takes time. Mentors trade away hours they could use to chase their own career goals and spend them on someone else’s.

  • Mentoring is about instituting a partnership that helps your protege learn. It is not about your being an expert or the authority.
  • Great mentors foster discovery, they don’t coach; thought-provoking questions are much more powerful than smart answers.
  • Your protege will learn more if you create a association that is safe and comfortable. Be authentic, open, and sincere.
  • Your rank or position is your greatest obligation—act more like a friend than a boss.
  • Great listening comes from genuine curiosity and obvious attentiveness.
  • Give feedback with a strong focus on the future, not a heavy rehash of the past.
  • Mentoring is not just about what you say in a mentoring session; it is also about how you support your protege after the session. Focus on helping your protege transfer learning back to the workplace.
  • If your mentoring relationship is not working like you hoped it would, clearly communicate your apprehensions to your protege.
  • Mentoring relationships are intended to be temporary. When your protege has met his or her mentoring goals, be willing to let the relationship end.

Tips for Being a Great Mentee

How to Make the Most of a Mentorship Experience The best mentors avoid overriding the dreams of their mentees. If an employee and a job aren’t a good fit, or if an ambitious employee realistically has limited upward mobility in a company, a good mentor will help that employee move on. They might be better suited to another role within the organization, or even to a new path somewhere else.

  • Select a mentor who can help you be the best you can be, not one you think can help you get a promotion.
  • Remember, you can sometimes learn more from people who are different than from people who are “just like you.”
  • Get transparent on your goals and expectations for a mentoring relationship.
  • Communicate your goals and expectations in your first meeting.
  • Mentoring is about learning, not looking good in front of your mentor. Be yourself and be willing to take risks and experiment with new skills and ideas.
  • When your mentor gives you advice or feedback, work hard to hear it as a gift. Just because it may be painful does not mean it is not beneficial.
  • If your mentoring relationship is not working like you hoped it would, clearly communicate your concerns to your mentor.
  • Great mentoring relationships take two people—a partnership. Look in the mirror before you conclude a poor mentoring relationship is all about your mentor.
  • Mentoring relationships are designed to be temporary. When you have met your mentoring goals, be willing to let the relationship end.
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John Paul Kotter and Psychological Contract

The celebrated leadership authority and educator John Paul Kotter argued in opposition to the anthropomorphizing of the organization, insisting that it was not organizations which embraced perceptions but rather individuals within those organizations.

'Leading Change' by John Kotter (ISBN 1422186431) Kotter discussed the psychological contract as a coordinating of expectations, where matched expectations lead to higher employee contentment and less turnover. He explained misaligned expectations in terms of a “psychological contract.” He described this as “an implicit contract between an individual and the organization which specifies what each expects to give and receive from each other in a relationship.”

The notion of the psychological contract refers to the perceptions of reciprocal obligations to each other held by the two parties in the employment relationship—the organization and the employee. Such discernments may be the result of proper contracts, or they may be suggested by the hopes and beliefs which each holds of the other and which are communicated in a variety of subtle or not-so-subtle ways.

Allstate Insurance’s Written ‘Psychological Contract’

Allstate Insurance's Psychological Contract for Employment Relationship Some employers, such as Allstate Insurance have created official statements delineating what employee and employer can expect from each other. They believe employee loyalty develops when the company and employees unambiguously know what is expected.

Terms of from Allstate’s Psychological Contract to the Employee

  • Offer work that is meaningful and challenging.
  • Promote an environment that encourages open and constructive dialogue.
  • Advise the employee of performance through regular feedback.
  • Create learning opportunities through education and job assignments.

Terms of from the Employee’s Psychological Contract to Allstate

  • Perform at levels that significantly increase the company’s ability to outperform the competition.
  • Take on assignments critical to meeting business objectives.
  • Willingly listen to and act upon feedback.
  • Take personal responsibility for each transaction with customers and for fostering their trust.

Psychological Contract and Open Communication

The psychological contract changes over time as the expectations of the employee and the organization change. With each change in expectations, open communication assists to keep both parties in alignment, or may lead to a common concurrence to renegotiate or break the contract.

The concept of the psychological contract has lately achieved significant notoriety in popular managerial texts in human resources discourse. This is for the reason that it offers an narrative of the reasons for the difficulties in the employment relationship presently being experienced by many organizations.

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Employees Must Have a Vested Interest in the Success of the Business

Robert Frost once said, “Isn’t it a shame that when we get up in the morning our minds work furiously—until we come to work.”

In the new economy, we need to equip people to think and act like owners. Everyone must come to work fully engaged and ready to make difference. A global revolution is under way, and it calls for gutsy leaders—people who can inspire knowledge workers idea merchants, and business innovator to exercise their own brand of leadership. The future belongs to those who use the power of culture to feed the entrepreneurial spirit.

Here are eight ways you can create a culture where people have a stake in the success of your business.

  • Employees Must Have a Vested Interest in the Success of the Business Recognize that ownership is more than a stock certificate. Ownership is a state of mind, a way of looking at the world and approaching work. Owners are people who step out from behind titles and job descriptions to act on behalf of the customer and the company. Non-owners hide behind position descriptions (“It’s not my job.”) and throw problems over functional walls (“Let me transfer you to…”) as an excuse for inaction. Owners cater to the purpose of the organization—its mission, vision, values, and strategy. Non-owners cater to the boss. Owners focus on the business results of their actions regardless of who is watching. Non-owners focus on the chain of command Owners ask the tough question: “How can we make it better?” Preoccupied with safety, non-owners gravitate toward the comfort of the status quo where things are more predictable and less disruptive.
  • Develop leaders who know how to liberate talent. Ownership is about giving people the freedom to act and removing the fears that cause lack of initiative. Unforgiving, zero-defect cultures foster cautious inactivity that kills the ownership mentality. People who don’t feel safe live under an umbrella of fear that makes them reluctant to make decisions, own problems, admit mistakes, take on projects, and act in ways that grow the business. When people cling to safety, they have no commitment to ownership; accountability vanishes, and self-preservation arises. Ownership is trusting that employees will operate with the company’s best interests in mind. Putting our trust in these people tells them that we think they are trustworthy. It suggests that we have faith in their character and competence. It boosts their self-confidence. Strengthen a person’s self-confidence and you strengthen his or her ability to think and act like an owner of the business. Herb Kelleher, Southwest’s chairman, says, “You build self-confidence when you give people the room to take risks and fail. You don’t condemn them when they fail. You just say, “We’ve just spent a good bit on your education; we hope to see you apply it in the future.”
  • Build a corporate culture of employee ownership Lay out the guiding principles. As a leader, you have to be confident that when the decisive moment comes, those who have assumed ownership will exercise common sense and good judgment. As the one assuming ownership, you have to be confident that what you are doing is the right thing because, after all, with ownership comes responsibility and accountability. Exercising good judgment and doing the right thing result from a clear understanding of the company’s guiding principles. Your firm’s business purpose and strategies, its mission, vision, values, and philosophy all define those principles. In essence, they create a set of helpful boundaries. When the boundaries are clear, employees have more freedom to step up, take action, and assume ownership for getting things done. When the boundaries are fuzzy, people get nervous and cautious. The result is a culture characterized by compliance instead of commitment.
  • Help people become business literate. When people understand how revenues and costs translate into profits, they become business literate. How many people on the front lines of your organization understand how the company makes money? How many of them are capable of reading a financial statement? If you asked them how much it costs to run their part of the business, could they tell you? How can we expect them to cut costs if they don’t know what those costs are to begin with? When people start asking cost questions, they are starting to think and act like owners of the business. The true experts are people at the point of action. Smart leaders open the books and equip these people with the financial information they need. When employees become business literate, they look for ways to drive costs down.
  • Make information relevant, fun, and interesting. The key to creating business literacy is getting people to internalize the information. If busy people do not see the information you put out as relevant, fun, and interesting, they are less likely to use it or be impacted by it. Information is relevant only when it is useful. If the salespeople at Sears knew that only three cents out of every dollar shows up as profit at the end of the day, they might be more passionate about watching costs and serving customers. Southwest Airlines’ annual profit-and-loss statement is written simply and illustrated with icons and cartoons, making it compelling to read and easy to understand.
  • 'The Truth About Employee Engagement' by Patrick Lencioni (ISBN 111923798X) Eliminate the “class” mentality. Leaders who are serious about leveraging the knowledge of every person must also eliminate the “class” mentality-socially prescribed or stereotypic boxes. This mentality undermines work in three ways. First, it strips the individual worker of his or her dignity and lowers morale. It essentially says, “We don’t believe in you enough to trust you with this information. It ensures that power resides at the top and widens the gap of inequality. Second, it doesn’t capitalize on people’s knowledge. The company pays for insight it never receives. Third, it crushes the entrepreneurial spirit. People stop caring, learning, and growing. When a financial statement is written so that only a CFO can understand it, forget about getting the frontline involved in a dialogue about cost containment. You breed compliance versus commitment. If your frontline people aren’t interested in reading a profit-and-loss statement, assess whether your information is too complicated or too mundane to capture their interest.
  • Show people how the business affects them personally. Most of the 18-year-old ramp agents at Southwest are business literate. They know that when they push a plane just 30 seconds late, that delay could translate into one hour and 45 minutes at the end of 11 flights in a day. Southwest would have to add 35 more planes at $30 million each to maintain its schedule. That could mean wage concessions, profit sharing, and lowered job security. They know how their job performance creates results, and how those results affect their lives. Southwest has made information relevant and interesting to its employees.
  • Give people a stake. Stock options and profit sharing can be powerful incentives to think and act like owners. However, just because people have stock options, they won’t necessarily think and act like owners. When you offer stock options and profit sharing without the culture to support these motivational tools it’s like putting new tires on a car that needs an alignment. When you add stock options and profit sharing to the rest of this list, you reward and reinforce people for behaving in ways that are consistent with an established culture. In doing so, you leverage the power of the incentive!

Build a corporate culture of employee ownership.

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Bill Gates on Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule

Malcoln Gladwell It’s a tempting proposal: if you practice anything for 10,000 hours, then you will become world class. In 1993, scientist Anders Ericsson learned of a group of psychologists in Berlin who were researching violin players found that, by age 20, the leading performers had averaged in excess of 10,000 hours of practice each. Less able performers, in the meantime, clocked up just 4,000 hours. Malcolm Gladwell popularized the notion further in his book Outliers: The Story of Success.

In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals,” writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin, “this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over 10 years… No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.

Gladwell applied the concept to Bill Joy, Bill Gates, and the Beatles, who sharpened their musical know-how in performance at Hamburg’s strip clubs. Gladwell says:

The Beatles ended up travelling to Hamburg five times between 1960 and the end of 1962. On the first trip, they played 106 nights, of five or more hours a night. Their second trip they played 92 times. Their third trip they played 48 times, for a total of 172 hours on stage. The last two Hamburg stints, in November and December 1962, involved another 90 hours of performing. All told, they performed for 270 nights in just over a year and a half. By the time they had their first burst of success in 1964, they had performed live an estimated 1,200 times, which is extraordinary. Most bands today don’t perform 1,200 times in their entire careers. The Hamburg crucible is what set the Beatles apart.

'Outliers' by Malcoln Gladwell (ISBN 0316017922) Coined by Florida State psychologist Anders Ericsson and made famous by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, the 10,000 hour rule reflects the belief that becoming a superlative athlete or performer rests on a long period of hard work rather than “innate ability” or talent. As stated by Malcolm Gladwell’s famous 10,000-hour rule, genuine success only comes to people who are willing to put in a great many hours to become first-class at something they value. Whether it involves learning a new piece of equipment, a new language, or developing a craft, being able to cope with setbacks and stay focused on goals regardless of how far-flung they seem. And so the importance of resolve and steadiness in success.

Bill Gates did not only have an propensity for creating software, he also had just about exceptional access as a schoolboy to a mainframe computer that the parents’ association of his local school invested in, in 1968. He got to it in eighth grade before just about anyone else in the world. Correspondingly the Beatles’ genius for melody did not come ready made. They developed it while singing in Hamburg in the early Sixties, at all-night strip clubs. In those years they dedicated more time to pop music than any of their peers. The same could be said for Mozart, or Tiger Woods. They had capability, sure enough, but they also had extraordinary family circumstances that allowed them a reasonable advantage at a very early age. They put the hours in first.

Extraordinary success depends on talent, hard work, and being in the right place at the right time, among other things. In Outliers, Gladwell contends that, to truly master any skill, leaning on various pieces of research, requires about 10,000 concentrated hours. If you can get those hours in early, and be in a position to exploit them, then you are an outlier.

When asked, “What do you think of Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that the years 1953 to 1955 were the perfect ones in which to be born for the computer revolution?” by his father William H. Gates Sr., Bill Gates reponds:

His book makes a lot of great points … that is that in all success stories there are significant elements of luck and tiny … I wasn’t the only kid born between 1953 and 1955, but absolutely to be young and open-minded at a time when the microprocessor was invented … in my case have a friend Paul Allen who was more open-minded about hardware type things and literally brought me the obscure article to talk about that first microprocessor and said you know this is going to improve exponentially … what does that mean and I said well at that means it we can do anything we want and then he was … you know … bugging me the rest of the time every time there’d be a new microprocessor he said can we do something yet and when we were in high school that can happen … so he came back to possible good job there and actually the microprocessor that was finally good enough came out in early 1975 and that’s why I i dropped out … so the timing was pretty important you know why didn’t older people see it … they weren’t this open open minded … they didn’t think about software is the key ingredient … now a lot of kids started doing software and … it’s not if somebody reads the book to say that if you spend 10,000 hours doing something you’ll be super good at it I don’t think that’quite as simple as that what you do is you do about 50 hours and ninety percent drop out because they don’t like it or they’re not good … you do another 50 hours and ninety percent drop out … so there’s these constant cycles and you do have to be lucky enough but also fanatical enough to keep going and so the person makes it to 10,000 hours is not just somebody has done it for 10,000 hours there’s somebody who chosen and been chosen in many different times and so all these magical things came together including who I know and that time … and i think you know that’s very important … when you look at somebody who’s good and say could I do it like them … they’ve gone through so many cycles that it may fool you that you know yes yes you could with the with the right luck, imagination, and and some some talent.

Bill Gates responds to Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill. Apart from acknowledging luck, timing and an open mind, Gates suggests that a successful person survives many cycles of attrition to make it to 10,000 hours of experience. “You do have to be lucky enough, but also fanatical enough to keep going,” explains Gates.

Unfortunately, a Princeton study, which analyzed 88 studies, established that practice accounted for just a 12% variation in performance.

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Best Practices for Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success

Benefits of Employee Retention Strategies

Guide to Employee Onboarding Best Practices

Often new hires leave too early for an organization to enjoy a return on its recruiting investment. The relationship between manager and new hire is critical to retention and performance. Managers can unleash the energy of their new hires by engaging them in a series of structured, powerful conversations over the first few weeks. By focusing these conversations on six sources of power, managers can connect early and cultivate more productive, motivated, and committed workers. These are: power from relationships, passion, challenges, focus, balance, and intention.

New hires often come fully charged, excited about their new adventure, and filled with energy and potential. By tapping into that energy, knowledge and wisdom right from the start, you can maximize the new hire’s potential, extend the handshake, and fuel that energy well past the beginning of the employment cycle.

While recruitment continues to be one of the most costly human resource processes, its longer-term effectiveness is being eroded by high attrition. Hiring doesn’t stop with the job offer. Today re-recruiting your best people is as critical as hiring them in the first place.

Often new hires leave too early for an organization to enjoy a return on its recruiting investment. And if they stay, are they productive, engaged, loyal, and committed? Have they simply “checked in” or are they “tuned in” and “turned on” as well?

The relationship between manager and new hire is critical to retention and performance. To increase retention and build loyalty during that critical first year, start by building the relationship between new hires and their managers.

Unleashing the Energy: New Employee Onboarding

Unleashing the Energy: New Employee Onboarding Improving first-year retention, decreasing time-to-productivity, and building loyalty and commitment are directly related to how quickly managers develop quality relationships with new hires.

Managers can unleash the energy of their new hires by engaging them in a series of structured, powerful conversations over the first few weeks. By focusing these conversations on six sources of power, managers can connect early and cultivate more productive, motivated, and committed workers.

  • Power from Relationship. There is no greater predictor of retention and engagement than the quality of the relationship between new hires and their managers and colleagues. The closer these bonds, the more new hires trust management, the more they feel cared for and valued, and the greater their focus, productivity, and satisfaction.
  • Power from Passion. People are more passionate about their work when they use their talents and skills to work on tasks and projects that interest them in environments that are consistent with the ways they prefer to work. Managers need to recognize their new hires’ skills, honor their interests, and leverage their strengths.
  • Power from Challenge. People get excited about their jobs (and stay excited) when they learn and grow in ways that have meaning for them. Managers need to become better talent scouts, and recognize potential when they see it. They need to provide for continued development and challenge.
  • Power from Focus. People are more committed when they know what the organization is trying to achieve, and how they can contribute to those outcomes. Managers must help new hires learn to navigate; understand the purpose, mission, and objectives; and appreciate how their efforts serve those goals.
  • Power from Balance. People’s lives extend well beyond the workplace. They have families, friends, lovers, and children to care for. They have finances to manage and households to maintain. They want to stay vibrant and healthy. They want to play and have time for themselves. Managers must make room for new hires and their whole lives.
  • Power from Intention. Managers and their new hires must follow through to earn the commitment and loyalty they both want: What new skills will they develop the first year, and how? What new areas will they explore, and how? What relationships are important to establish? How will the manager or new hire flex to make the relationship work best? What results will new hires be responsible for? How will they be rewarded? What support will the manager provide? It takes more than talk-new hires need to see tangible progress.

Benefits of Employee Retention Strategies

Best Practices for Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success What does the organization get in return? Here are a few bottom-line results:

  • Improved first-year retention rates. Engaging new employees early in shaping their jobs, designing their development, and building relationships can decrease first-year attrition.
  • Decreased time-to-productivity. Encouraging managers to be clear about what exactly is expected, and discuss how well new employees are learning their responsibilities can decrease the time required for new hires to get “up to speed.” They will contribute more, and do so more rapidly.
  • Reduced recruiting costs. Convincing new hires that they made the right choice can result in an increase in recruits referred by recent hires. Some organizations attract 70 percent of their new hires from recent hire referrals, reducing recruiting costs significantly.
  • Increased productivity. Making it possible for people to do what they do best, allowing them to pursue their interests, and building meaningful relationships can lead to higher productivity, increased customer satisfaction, and enhanced profitability.
  • Brand development. The more your become known as a great place to work, as an organization that cares about its employees, the more easily you attract the best and the brightest.
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Knowledge is Never Really Acquired

A portrait statue of Socrates The famous statement, “All I know is that I do not know,” is attributed-questionably, according to some scholars-to the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates (c. 470-399 BCE), based on two dialogues written by his disciple Plato (c. 424-c. 348 BCE).

In The Republic (c. 360 BCE), Socrates concludes a discussion with Thrasymachus on “justice” by saying, “the result of the discussion, as far as I’m concerned, is that I know nothing, for when I don’t know what justice is, I’ll hardly know whether it is a kind of virtue or not, or whether a person who has it is happy or unhappy.”

In The Apology (399 BCE), Socrates says of a well-respected politician that “he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows; I neither know nor think that I know.” The resulting slogan was adopted by later thinkers and incorporated into the tradition that became known as “Academic Skepticism.” Rather than believing that it is impossible to know anything, Academic Skeptics actually claim only that we can know very little about reality—namely, truths of logic and mathematics. This contrasts with Pyrrhonian skepticism, which involves an attitude of doubting every positive judgment, including logic and mathematics.

A serious problem with Socrates’s statements is that he seems committed to an incoherent position. If he truly does not know anything, then it is false that he knows that; but if he does know he does not know anything, then it is false that he does not know anything. Thus, the claim “I know that I do not know” is self-defeating (resulting in the statement also being known as the Socratic paradox). In response, many scholars argue that this is an uncharitable reading of Plato. They contend that Socrates’s claims are expressed in a particular context, referring only to specific concepts and not to knowledge generally (“Justice” in The Republic, and “beauty” and “goodness” in The Apology).

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