Thursday, September 29, 2016

6 Ways to Bring EQ into Your Organization

Once people find out about EQ, they often want to share it with others and integrate it into their own organizations, so we get asked for our advice on the best ways to introduce the topic and entice others to work on their own EQ.

Here are 6 ways to bring EQ to your organization:

   1. Host a lunch and learn – Bring in a speaker or give a presentation yourself on the topic of emotional intelligence. You could highlight some examples of high and low EQ behaviors that are observable within your organization along with some tips on how to develop it in yourself.

2. Adopt 360-degree assessments, including for the executives – These types of assessments provide quantitative and qualitative data on someone’s effectiveness and give an immediate measurement of social self-awareness, we use and recommend the ESCI .

3.Tie EQ to personal values – Every executive has a business metric they are most focused on, things like increasing revenue, better profit margin, reducing errors, increasing stock value, reducing employee turnover. All of these can be tied directly to an EQ initiative so you can make a business case that more EQ can benefit the company’s bottom line, and who says no to that?

4.Start a book club – Pick some of your favorite books on emotional intelligence and provide a copy to those interested. Once a week or once a month get together and discuss a chapter as a team. Ask and encourage examples of ways EQ is being demonstrated in daily interactions with others.

5. Look at your performance reviews – If you do annual, formal performance ratings there is a very good chance that you are measuring EQ behaviors already without calling it that. Some examples include; teamwork and collaboration, positive attitude, professional conduct; adaptability with change. So, by adding EQ training you are supporting the skills employees are expected to demonstrate anyway.

6. Conduct an EQ talent study – This is a powerful technique to identify the skills your high performers have that your low performers lack. By using a validated EQ assessment and a group report, you can better recognize the critical skills that predict success in a role and then use that data to do better hiring and promotions and identify training needs.     

There are numerous benefits of bring emotional intelligence into your interviewing, management, and coaching practices and creatively weave it into your talent management strategy.    

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Video Interview with Greg Hawks: CEO of Hawks Agency

Last September I spoke at a SHRM conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.  After scoping out where my room was going to be, I started setting up a small table outside with stacks of Ego vs EQ.  Suddenly, I heard someone shout, "Jen! Jen Shirkani! Hi, my name's Greg Hawks, and I'd like to interview you on Periscope!"

I had no idea what Periscope was, and I had no idea who this infectiously energetic man was, well technically he did tell me his name.  After a rapid 90 second rundown of what he was actually going to be doing, I said "Sure," and away we went.

He has become an extremely supportive peer, thoughtful friend, and is a captivating speaker.  He has grown his business exponentially over the past 12 months, and I couldn't be happier to have him as my guest in this month's vlog interview!  

Watch here.

As a Corporate Culture Specialist, Greg brings an expansive leadership portfolio to your service. For two decades he’s mentored leaders, developed teams, crafted culture and empowered employees. He’s intensely motivated to grow high capacity performers who work, serve and sell with excellence, consistently.

As a Keynote Speaker, he is an enthusiastic character. His style, wit and energy consistently capture the attention and imagination of audiences. His forward thinking contributes fresh perspectives that work. He’s annoyingly optimistic, contagiously energetic and slightly mischievous. People tend to like him and he gives killer keynotes!  To learn about Greg and Hawks Agency click here, or contact:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pausing Technology...If Only For an Hour

I was facilitating a workshop last week at a client we have worked with for several years. They are a successful firm that has had continued growth for many years. I noticed something about the participants that caught my attention. They were all actively participating, using paper and pens to take notes and giving me pretty consistent eye contact. It is sad to say this experience is becoming more and more rare. When I facilitate or speak today, I am often looking out at just the top of heads because attendees are looking down at phones, iPads and laptops.

Some people claim that they hate to write or can’t read their own handwriting and want to take electronic notes which I understand, but I can also tell you that every time there is a physical laptop barrier between me and you, a degradation of quality and communication occurs. You will likely only receive half of what I am sharing as you also respond to emails, look at your calendar and read social media alerts. And you also minimize your coworkers’ ability to absorb new information as well, distracted by your typing on the keys, or wondering what you are working on not related to the meeting topic.

One reason that group in front of me that day was so attentive? Their firm has a strict “no electronics in meetings” policy. The three owners of the business comply with it and role model its importance so everyone else follows the rules too. I am convinced it is one of the reasons why they are so successful, and would encourage you to implement one in your office too.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

How Are You Being Judged?

Seeing It From the Other Side 

Stephen Covey has said that we judge others on their behavior and we judge ourselves on our intentions. What would happen if we reversed that thinking?

Wouldn't your team be more creative if they experienced less judgment in the workplace? Wouldn't there be less stress if everyone felt accepted and understood? 
Consider doing a brief, but easy exercise to learn more about perceptions.

Imagine seeing yourself from someone else's point of view. They do not have the benefit of knowing how you think. They do not get insight into your rationale when you make decisions. They only see what you do and what you say. For one week, spend the last 10 minutes of each workday writing down the names of the people you interacted with that day and, thinking about your behavior only, list the adjectives they would give if asked to describe you. Now make a list of everyone you interacted with and how you judged them that day.

On the flip side, since we don't have the ability to read someone else's mind, we make a lot of assumptions about why someone behaves the way they do. What if you spent one week conscientiously assuming everyone had the best intent?  Even bad behavior can be driven by someone trying to do the right thing and being stymied by the actions of others. Catch yourself before judging someone else negatively and instead consider any and all positive motives. Choose one of those. 

Done earnestly, this will be a very enlightening exercise increasing your self-awareness and empathy.
What have you got to lose?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Month in a Minute

Clockwise from top left: Presentation at  SMPS, Speaking at the Nebraska State SHRM confrence, Taylor Shimberg and me at Altman Vilandrie & Co., Steve and me at SHRM, Angela and me at SMPS

August was a very busy month for us at Penumbra, highlights including the SMPS Conference in Philadelphia and the Nebraska State SHRM Conference plus work with new clients in New York, Boston and Utah.
Funny story from the road. I was on a Southwest flight with a stop in a city that required me to stay on the plane, we had to wait for the local passengers to deplane and new passengers to board before continuing on. Every time that happens, the flight attendants make an announcement:
“For those of you continuing on with us please remain seated and we will come through and count you. Then you can get up and change seats or use the restrooms: one in the front and two in the back.”
There was a couple sitting next to me and the woman turned to her husband  and said, “Well I have to go #2 so I will have to wait for these people to get off and go in the back.”

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Pleasant Surprise in Philly

You know that fear we all have about speaking in front of a crowd and having your mind go blank? Well, it happened to me recently when I was speaking to a group of about 200 people at a conference. I was about ten minutes into my talk when this music started playing. At first it was low so I kept talking, then it got louder and louder. At that point, it was so disruptive a few people in the audience got up and headed out the doors, many others started talking to each other. I paused to try and understand what was happening and where the music was coming from until I finally just had to completely stop and wait for things to calm down and hope someone was working on the problem. We were in a hotel with adjoining ballrooms and apparently, the presentations in the two rooms next to me both had loud music that coincidentally started at the same time, and completely drowned us out.
After a few long minutes the room was quiet again and back under control and then all eyes were back on me. I tried to think, where was I? What was the last thing I said before I stopped?  The silence was now getting uncomfortable as my mind scrambled to figure out what to say. I finally realized there was not going to be any faking it, I couldn’t come up with anything, and decided to come clean. I looked out at the crowd and said with an embarrassed laugh, “I have completely lost my place. Can anyone help me? Where was I?” Several audience members shouted out to me my last statement before the break and many laughed along with me, I am guessing having been there themselves at some point. Instead of it being the mortifying experience I  had always feared, it was a lovely moment of shared connection that I never expected. Sometimes, as scary as it is, just being genuinely real is the best approach.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

20 Things the Most Respected Bosses Do Every Day

I stumbled across this fantastic article written by Bill Murphy Jr., for Inc.  How many boxes can you fill with check marks? 

Think about the best boss you've ever had.
Maybe you're fortunate, and we're talking about the person you call your boss today. Maybe it's someone you recall fondly from years ago. (Maybe you don't have a boss--good for you!--but I'll bet you've had one at some time in the past.)
Regardless of who this person is, I'm confident I can describe him or her. That's because highly respected bosses often have a lot in common with one another. Here are 20 of the key things they do almost every day.
Bonus content: The Big Free Book of Success (free 133-page e-book)

1. They share their vision.

The most important thing a leader can do is provide his or her team with a goal that is worth their time. Granted, the boss doesn't always get to set the agenda, but a great one will advocate for something worthy, and ensure that he communicates it effectively and often.

2. They develop expertise.

What's more annoying than working for a boss who doesn't actually understand the job, and whose authority vests entirely in the job title? The boss doesn't have to be the number-one expert in every fact of the job--that might be impossible--but he or she had to be competent at all levels.

3. They respect people's time.

Great bosses have little tolerance for boring meetings, mandatory fun, and making others wait unnecessarily. They also avoid long-windedness when shorter remarks will do.

4. They set priorities.

When you try to focus on everything, you're not focusing on anything. A smart boss understands that, and realizes that lack of focus can easily metastasize when your lack of priorities means the team isn't moving in the right direction together.

5. They share information.

Some bosses parcel out information like misers, often because they're afraid that if their team had all the facts, they might not be able to lead. There are legitimate reasons to control the timing of information sharing, but overall the more transparent a boss can be, the more respect the team will ultimately have for him or her.

6. They make decisions.

Decisiveness. Super important. Enough said.

7. They offer praise.

People wonder how they're doing. Great bosses let them know, and they're especially vocal and public about it when they're doing well. 

8. They demonstrate empathy.

Great bosses are able to see things through other people's eyes, especially their employees'. Of course this doesn't mean that they are pushovers, but it does mean that they're concerned about their team on multiple levels.

9. They offer thanks.

Building a culture of gratitude starts at the top. If the boss doesn't take time to offer thanks to those around him or her, why would we expect that anyone else would?

10. They pull everyone together.

You might have heard the phrase "gung ho." Reportedly, it derives from a World War II saying that combined two Chinese words meaning "work" and "together." A great boss recognizes the talents of members of his or her team, and strives to lead in a way that lets everyone maximize their effectiveness together.

11. They ask smart questions.

They double-check assumptions in a non-annoying but thorough way that sends the message that they're on top of things. They aren't willing to accept that things should be done a certain way just because that's how they've been done in he past.

12. They have respect for people's lives.

They also recognize that people are just that--people. Work has to be a priority, but that doesn't mean it's the only thing in their lives. They recognize that their employees have spouses, children, friends they need to care for, not to mention outside interests and ambitions. 

13. They hire thoughtfully.

There's a saying: personnel is policy. In fact, this should arguably be the first item on the list. A leader's most important role is sometimes about assembling a team of great people--and, just as important, avoiding letting toxic people join.

14. They accept blame.

Ethical people accept blame for their failings. Maybe they don't dwell on it, but they accept it. Great bosses go a step further, accepting the collective blame when the team comes up short, and then guiding everyone to move forward.

15. They have a sense of humor.

Life is hilarious. Great bosses don't have to be cutups, but they do have to have a sense of humor. They recognize that the crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.

16. They communicate effectively.

No mumbling, no backpedaling. Great bosses find the words to explain what they mean--and they back up what they say.

17. They model ethical behavior.

It's often true that more progress is made when we seek forgiveness than when we seek permission. However, there are rules, social norms, and basic decency. Great bosses strive to uphold them.

18. They celebrate wins.

Nobody likes a boss who thinks the only reward for great work should be more of the same. Great bosses look for milestones to celebrate--whether that means a 15-second recognition or a full-blown party.

19. They strive for excellence.

Because really, who wants to work for someone who strives simply to be adequate?

20. They make more leaders.

Great leaders don't just make happy followers--they inspire more leaders with their examples. Just as important: They're thrilled, not threatened, when members of their teams go on to even bigger and better things in life.
Got other attributes that should be on this list? Let me know, and don't forget to check out the bonus free e-book: The Big Free Book of Success.