Thursday, December 29, 2016

Interviewing and Selection: The Invisible Cost

What does it say about us as leaders when we have reoccurring turnover? The loss of respect, credibility and trust can be the most damaging long term effects of turnover.

The Invisible Costs

As a strategic business leader, selecting and retaining good employees is a key skill that must be learned. And that is the good news! It can be learned. There is a wealth of resources available to today’s candidates, yet most interviewers are not up- to-date on latest trends. As you are looking to continually develop your professional skills, don't overlook the importance of keeping your interviewing skills current. Candidates today are savvy and well trained, can we say the same?

We all know the pain of a bad hire. Often our focus is on the hard costs of turnover, expenses such as advertising, training, equipment, and payroll. While these are significant, they can distract us from the intangible consequences of lost human capital; the “invisible costs”, those which can be felt and observed but not measured.

Every time an employee walks away, it slowly chips away at our leadership credibility. This “revolving door” may be the result of hiring mistakes or even the loss of star employees fed up with working with those mistakes. Our team trusts us to select and retain the right people to work alongside them. They rely on us to make the decisions they cannot, choosing people who will enrich instead of erode team morale.

Customers also take notice of office instability and wonder about our inability to keep an intact team. Our competitors get wind of yet another lost employee and see opportunity in the weakening of our workforce. Both active and passive candidates observe the same open positions and wonder why people don’t stay.


We ourselves may even begin to question our abilities or feel defeated, seeing hiring as nothing more than a crapshoot. Often, the deck is stacked against us from the start. How often are we given the responsibility to interview and hire but no resources to learn how? But there IS hope! Great interviewers are made, not born. Interviewing is a learned skill set, requiring practice and precision. By seeking out resources to increase your hiring effectiveness you can replace the "invisible costs" with visible results.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Trust Thing

It’s been said that trust is like money: it's tough to get and easy to lose. But what does trust look like and how can you tell if there’s trust within your leadership, your team and your organization? It’s much easier to discern its absence than its presence. When trust is low, morale and profits follow. Other telltale signs are higher turnover, an overactive rumor mill, less innovation and risk taking, followed by lost customers. By contrast, high trust pays. Watson Wyatt Worldwide found that companies with trusted top executives posted shareholder returns 42 percentage points higher than those where distrust was the rule.


Sadly, trust in leadership is not the rule. According to Aon’s Loyalty Institute, less than half of employees trust their organizations leaders overall. The challenge can be easier to address once it is defined. One definition of trust is: “a positive expectation that another will not act opportunistically.” Another is: “Confidence in and reliance on good qualities, especially fairness, truth, honor or ability.” Trust requires a mutual understanding and expectation of values, roles and behavior. Can you say with certainty that you and your team share the same expectation of your role in their immediate work life and career? Building trust means looking for what you may not want to see and finding what you may not want to know. Can you really afford not to?

What can you do to rebuild lost trust with teams or customers?

● Seek feedback: Leaders are often baffled by the lack of trust in their organizations. Multirater feedback instruments, such as a validated 360 degree assessment, can offer a reliable window into areas for improvement.
● Zero in on the issue: Is it personal mistrust, such as lost credibility, reliability or overindulged self-interest, or organizational mistrust, caused by unfulfilled promises, organizational misalignment or the unintended effects of rapid change?
● Acknowledge and plan: Once identified, openly acknowledge the specific issues and create a plan to close trust gaps.
● Raise the bar and follow-through: Whatever the initial issue, repair comes over time with overt and consistent behavior. Create higher expectations for trustworthy behavior and follow through.
● Watch it: Monitor the effort closely, repeating assessments within six months.

Trust is priceless and can even be a competitive advantage. Don’t assume you deserve it. As in all things, be deliberate about earning and maintaining organizational and personal trust.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Meeting of Minds(and Emotions)



Managers achieve results through people. Strategies, goals, service and innovation all depend on a team’s ability to envision a common outcome and make it happen. According to Robert Kelley of Carnegie-Mellon University, there is no choice-we need each other. Since 1986 Kelley has asked workers from many industries: “What percentage of the knowledge you need to do your job is stored in your own mind?” In his book, How to Be a Star at Work, he reports that at first the answer was typically 75 percent, but by 1997 it was between 15 percent and 20 percent.

The most common unit of collaboration is, of course, meetings. A recent business-school review of meeting research over several decades found that managers spend as much as 80 percent of their day meeting. While many believe much, if not all, meeting time is wasted, it is how management’s work gets done. What’s more, data suggest that using your Emotional Intelligence (EQ to distinguish it from IQ) contributes to meeting and team success.

A study of sixty work teams found the single most important dimension of success, was how members interacted with each other and with those outside the team. Another found that emotional competencies distinguished “star teams” from the others studied, based on objective performance data. Among those competencies were: flexibility in how they addressed tasks; unified effort; learning to improve by listing to performance feedback; open communication; setting expectations and confronting low performing team members. The good news is that these skills can be learned and applied quickly to improve the quality of collaborative work.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Month in a Minute


Steve and I with Lindsay Mattes at SLC SHRM, Steve and I with Dennis Pratt at Alkermes in Waltham MA, with Mike Kleis and Katie Douglas at Iowa CEO Conference in Des Moines, Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, AICPA Conference in Boston, Steve and I with Amy Blackmore at Moorings Park in Naples FL
I am having a hard time believing it is December already, are you? It seems summer was just a month ago and here we are with the new year less than 30 days from now. The year started out pretty quiet in our business, but it has picked up so much steam we have been traveling almost every week since Labor Day. I am incredibly grateful for the business and love being out with clients and seeing the country, but I am exhausted with the extra travel combined with being a single mom, visiting a boyfriend who lives 3,000 miles away every chance I get, and did I mention, I just finished my 2nd book? As a result of fatigue and stress, I have a bad habit of forgetting things. Not things like names or directions: I forget items. It is my warning system that I am overtired or brain dead. As a result, in the last 30-days I have left my laptop in a restaurant, my sunglasses at the movies, my jacket at a hotel, and if you happen to be flying Delta and find a blue iPod in the seat pocket, it’s mine.


Friday, December 2, 2016

8 Tips for Better Stress Tolerance




Well, it's that time of year again! Time for family, friends, food, and...stress. Just to keep things spicy, this holiday season has also arrived on the heels of a very tumultuous election.  If the ladle to your bucket of goodwill and stress tolerance is scraping the bottom, I have a few tips to replenish your stores.  

Believe it or not, having an entirely stress free life is not necessarily always a good thing. Stress keeps us in motion, nudging us out of our comfort zone and helping us grow. It serves as a motivator, prodding us toward positive change. Successfully coping with stress builds our confidence, too, so we're better prepared to face the bigger challenges that may come our way. Tolerating stress is important no matter what your life looks like right now, but especially when you are facing an exit out of your comfort zone, whether that exit has been pushed upon you or you've chosen it.  

Taking on risks, wrestling with challenges, and giving yourself the opportunity to succeed and to grow, is definitely where the stress occurs, but it's also where the magic happens. With challenge comes stress, and to be effective outside your comfort zone, you need to be able to handle that stress. Stress tolerance is a vital emotional intelligence skill because it provides you with a toolkit for coping. It gives you perspective, so you don't overreact when things go wrong. It helps you stay healthier, because stress tolerance helps control anxiety and its physical side effects, like high blood pressure. It helps you get comfortable with adversity, you widen your tolerance for stress - which, in turn, increases your ability to take on risks and meet goals.

How to Replenish Your Stress Tolerance


1. Use all your allotted vacation time.


2. Stop checking your work email after hours and working on weekends.


3. Remember you are not alone; don't be afraid to turn to others for help.


4. Get outside: The fresh air will help clear your head and give you a new perspective.


5. Prepare your body to handle stress by eating healthily and getting plenty of sleep.


6. Make exercising a regular part of your routine and increase the chances of sticking with it by doing something you love (be creative!)


7. Cultivate a hobby that you can enjoy on weekends or a few times a month.


8. Practice gratitude. Make it a habit to reflect each day on the good in your life and everything you have to be thankful for.



No one's life is free of stress. Maybe you have been caught off guard by a surprise crisis, or you are feeling the pressure of too much work, or maybe you're in a time of self-directed growth right now. Even if you've been fortunate enough never to have your world rocked by true crisis, isn't it better to build more tolerance now, so you're prepared when the unexpected happens? Stress tolerance also helps you navigate the regular day by day with more poise and joy. By building your reserves of stamina, you empower yourself to get through life's challenges more quickly and more effectively.