Friday, December 27, 2019

3 Ways to Use EQ for Goal Setting

As we wind down this year (and this decade) it’s natural to look ahead and think about what we want to accomplish in the coming year. If you are a New Year’s Resolution maker, consider using these pointers that leverage EQ to help you be more successful in reaching them. I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for being part of Shirkani's Musings readership, we appreciate your willingness to allow us to share our experiences with you and we wish you much good health and prosperity in 2020!

As you know, the stick rate of new year’s resolutions is pretty low so here are some emotionally intelligent things that can be done to improve the odds:
  • Be realistic – using the first R in EQ “Recognize” leverages the insights of self-awareness to pick goals that are within our reach. If you have never been a runner, don’t set a goal to run 5 miles a day. Start small and set a goal to run or even walk 1 mile a day. Or don’t say you will lose 20 pounds. Instead, commit to losing one pound per month.
  • Build in accountability – the second part of EQ is “Reading” as in reading others and situations accurately. Using situational awareness, pick times to articulate your goals to others who can both challenge you if they see you backsliding and support you when you need it to follow through
  • Celebrate success – a big part of resiliency comes from our ability to “Respond”, using our self-control to stay consistent in our behavior when faced with headwinds. When feeling weary or tempted to quit, focus on what you have accomplished, not what you haven’t. Use that positive emotion to give yourself credit and fuel confidence to keep pursuing your goals.
Another characteristic of EQ is self-actualization. As defined by Maslow, “…the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” Therefore, goal setting and personal growth are built into daily habits for those with high emotional intelligence.  

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Feedback After Failure

Obviously, no one wants to make a bad decision or make a mistake. Yet if we consider the things in life that have shaped us the most, there are likely more than a few failures and tough lessons on the list.  However, we rarely allow employees the benefit of this "fail forward" environment; the freedom to feel fully empowered to experiment and take risks.

Most leaders have difficulty letting go because of trust issues, image management motives, and/or a need to protect people from the deflating failure experience. However, to be a fully effective leader we are required to delegate and trust employees to take responsibility and accountability for their own decisions.  This is a significant distinguisher between management and leadership.  Are you directing or developing?

Rest assured that if you have an engaged employee who fails, no one will feel worse about it than they will, so your feedback through it will be vital. A borderline employee will need the post-mortem to collaboratively sift through the experience to find the valuable lessons they can leverage to improve their performance.  A poor performer will tire of the consistent communication, expectations, and accountability, and will likely pick up their anchor and move on. 

After all the recovery plans have been created and implemented, it is time to schedule the meeting to do a debrief. Here are some ideas:
  • Let them talk.  Think coaching, not instructing.  Ask questions that allow them to process what happened and self-discover any warning signs they may have missed.  A lesson learned personally has far greater power to change than accepting someone else's truth.
  • Don't play the blame game - and stop them from playing it too. If it really was their decision that led to failure they must own it, but you also need to ease up on your urge to lecture or say I told you so. If others truly were involved in the mistake or poor decision, allow this fact to be acknowledged on one condition. They must also acknowledge what they personally could have done to influence other's behavior to have achieved better results. How can they be more successful working with and through others going forward? 
  • What lessons have been learned - what can you both take away from the experience? 
  • Moving forward - how can you help them re-establish credibility or trust? Identify what resources may be missing to assist them. 
  • Remind them of past success - you don't want to make them fearful of risking again. Build their confidence. Remember that they will beat themselves up worse than you ever will. You can verbally communicate a safe environment, but if your actions at any point contradict this message, there will be no growth in performance or personal ownership. 
  • Check-in intermittently with your staff to ask how effective you are being in delivering a consistent message of safety in risk-taking.
The only way to delegate more is to trust more. The only way to build trust is to give people room to prove themselves, including the risk of failing.

Keep the conversation objective, make it safe for them to try new things and grow, and if things don't go as planned, ask what contingency plans he/she would have put in place knowing what they know now. How can you both use that information for the next time? Don't stop providing autonomy because of failure; be there to give them what they need, just when they need it. Someone somewhere gave you an important chance to learn and grow. Be that someone for your team.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Cure for Constant Disappointment

I was working with an organization one time and the business owner shared with me that he was struggling with his sales leader.

“He is very good at account maintenance but weak at prospecting (hunting) skills. I really need him to be more aggressive at getting new business. It’s creating a lot of frustration for me.”

“Have you shared this with him?” I asked.

“Yes. Since the day he started.”

“How long has he worked for you?”

“Ten years.” He replied.

“Over the ten years he has been with you, have you ever seen him be a strong prospector?”


This sums up the dynamic that plays out in relationships every day. We do it with family, friends, and spouses. We want to see some new behavior in someone...give them the feedback...and every time they don’t change we get frustrated and annoyed.

Now, I am a firm believer that people can change and new behaviors can be implemented. But they are often gradual changes and don’t require a wholesale change in temperament, personality or values:  those things are pretty fixed. So most of the time, what you get is what you get. And there are always those who choose not to change, they are comfortable being comfortable and expect everyone to adjust to them.

I have a friend who is unhappy with her husband. And although he has some good traits, he drinks too much, doesn’t keep a job, prioritizes himself above the family, and is a chronic liar. It has been this way for 20 years. But instead of seeing it for what it is, she wakes up every day thinking, “Today is the day he will be responsible, honest and selfless.” And every day, when he doesn’t do those things she is heartbroken and furious. I love her optimism, but you can see how delusional it is. Instead of seeing him for who he is, she sees him how she desperately wants him to be. And every day he doesn’t live up to it, she hates him for it.

My advice? Lower your expectations. It’s really unfair to expect someone to be a person they have never been and then resent them for it when they aren’t. At some point, you have to accept the person for who they are and the behaviors they are choosing, then decide if you can live with that. Trust me, it usually lowers your stress level to let go of the negative cycle of hoping, judging and continual disappointment. 

And there is one huge upside: if your expectations are low enough, the person just might pleasantly surprise you. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Month in a Minute

Facilitating Choose Resilience Workshop CALA;
Left, Paula Hertel, Board Member CALA;
Right; Steve and me with Deb Meogrossi,
Governor of CMLA
November gave us an opportunity to get together in Palm Springs California to participate in the California Assisted Living Association Fall Conference and speak on Choose Resilience. It was a reunion for me to see so many old friends and colleagues. I have done a lot of work with CALA over the years, in fact, the first association keynote I ever gave was at one of their annual conferences back in 2003. It is a very well-run and robust state senior living organization and if you work in assisted living in California and haven’t joined or participated in CALA, I highly recommend that you do.
We also visited Denver and spoke to the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association on ways to use EQ to increase influence with others. CMLA provides ongoing high-quality learning events and resources for those in the mortgage industry along with some great networking opportunities. If you are in the Colorado real estate industry, check them out!
Wishing all of our readers a safe and happy holiday this month!  

Friday, November 22, 2019

Demand for Emotional Intelligence Skills Soars Sixfold

This piece was written by Abid Hasan you can view the original article here.  Thanks for writing such an informative column, Abid!

As new technologies automate more traditional and routine tasks, executives and employees recognize that emotional intelligence (EI) skills – such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management – will be a key requisite for success in the years to come. 

While demand for EI skills is set to increase by six times in the next 3-5 years, recruitment and training in this area have mostly failed to adapt. This is set to leave many companies unable to reap the benefits EI offers in terms of employee satisfaction, revenue generation, lower attrition, and cost reductions. The “Emotional intelligence – the essential skillset for the age of AI” report from the Capgemini Research Institute provides a global look at how companies view EI and recommend that they combine technology with the talent to develop relevant skills among their employees. 

Key Findings

As AI and automation accelerates, emotional intelligence is becoming a must-have skill

as more traditional and routine tasks become automated, organizations are placing a premium on EI skills, from self-awareness to relationship management and communication. Executives said employees need to develop EI skills so they can adapt to more client/person-facing roles (76%) and take on tasks requiring EI skills that cannot be automated (also 76%) such as empathy, influence, and teamwork. Sixty-one percent of executives surveyed said emotional intelligence will become a “must-have” skill in the next 1 – 5 years and 41% of employees in non-supervisory roles echo the sentiment. Overall, 83% of organizations said that a highly emotionally intelligent workforce will be a prerequisite for success in the years to come. 

Employees are nervous about the impact of automation and AI on the relevance of their skills
The share of employees who believe that their skills are or will become redundant due to automation and AI has increased by 10 percentage points in two years. Overall, the percentage of employees who believe their skills are or will be redundant in the next two to three years has increased from 30% to 39%. In addition, the share of millennials who feel this has increased from 40% to 50%. Evidently, millennials are aware of the impact of automation and AI and are getting more anxious because they realize that they will absorb the maximum impact of automation.

Organizations with an emotionally intelligent workforce are reaping the benefits
Organizations that do have employees with high emotional intelligence are realizing significant benefits. On average, 60% of the surveyed organizations realized more than 20% benefit by having employees who display high EI. The top quantitative benefits include enhanced productivity, higher employee satisfaction, and increased market share.  
The research calculated that organizations making a sustained investment in EI will see between a 2.2x and 4.4x return-on-investment when the impact on revenue, productivity, costs, and attrition are taken into account. 
People processes in organizations have not been adapted to tackle the age of the machine, especially for non-supervisory employees
While 75% of organizations said they can develop EI skills in their employees, far fewer are providing relevant training to help achieve that goal. Just 42% of organizations provide training for senior management and leadership, falling to 32% for middle management and just 17% for employees in non-supervisory roles. Despite employees in non-supervisory roles being the most likely to be impacted by automation, less than 40% of organizations test for EI skills while hiring or assess these skills in their existing employees in non-supervisory roles. 
The research concludes that companies need to embed EI into their various people practices and take both bottom-up and top-down approaches to build a high EI workforce through modifications to existing processes. Organizations will also need to create a culture that values EI and strives for continuous improvement. It highlights four key areas on which organizations should focus to build a more emotionally intelligent workforce: 
  • Customize existing learning programs to integrate EI and make them accessible to all
  • Modify recruitment processes to include the evaluation of EI 
  • Apply an EI lens when promoting and rewarding talent
  • Use technology and data for building a high EI culture
“Companies are increasingly aware of the need for emotional intelligence skills but are not moving quickly enough to invest in them,” said Claudia Crummenerl, Global Practice Lead, People and Organization at Capgemini Invent. “This new research shows both the necessity for EI as routine tasks become automated and also the benefits companies can gain through having an emotionally intelligent workforce. The experience of the most successful companies in this space shows that organizations must prioritize EI in recruitment, training, and culture to build a resilient team in a changing world.”

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Month in a Minute

Speaking at Tenable

It’s hard to believe the holidays are upon us, wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving. October included some great opportunities to network with some wonderful women across the country. I first had the pleasure of speaking at the Arizona Women’s Leadership Forum. This was my first year attending and I will definitely go again next year, the speakers were excellent and the attendees were an impressive group of businesswomen across the greater Phoenix area. I then went across the country to be part of the Women@Tenable event to share the key principles of SheQ – ways to leverage emotional intelligence for women. A timely article was published last month as well: Where Women Fall Behind at Work: The First Step Into Management. I think we have all been focused on improving the numbers of women at the top and achieving that is a slow process. This article highlights the value of doing something very achievable – promote as many women as men as first-time leaders. The article says that alone could create gender parity in the executive suite within one generation.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Great Divide: Our Inter-Generational Workplace

I remember watching the Superbowl one year with my daughter Annie. At the time she was 7-years-old, and after a few minutes she said to me, "They are just playing for fun, right?" and I said, "No, they are playing for real. They want to win." And she said, "But it's just a game so it doesn't matter who wins, right?" She was a soccer player on our town's recreational team, her team didn't keep score and everyone received a trophy at the end of the season; thus she thought all games were played that way.

This is a common mindset that we see in the generation who will be replacing the Baby Boomers. They are called Gen Y, Millenials or Trophy Kids.  The “everyone wins” philosophy poses some challenges in terms of how to best integrate younger talent with colleagues of other generations who see things very differently. 
Managing an Inter-Generational Workforce

We live during a unique time in workplace history. Walk into any business, and you might find three - sometimes four - generations working side by side: Millenials (born 1980-2000, also called Gen Y), Generation X (1965-1979), Baby Boomers (1943-1964), and Veterans or Silent Generation(pre-1942).

Research indicates that the generation in which an individual grew up influences his or her behaviors, motivators, expectations, and mindset about work. Consider the following vastly different factors.

And between generations, the outcome of those influences on an individual's work may be very different!

So how do you handle these differences in the workplace?

  • Focus on different benefits and aspects of the company in recruiting. When recruiting Boomers, focus on the company benefits and career paths. For Gen Xers focus on short term perks like gym memberships, flex time, monthly or quarterly bonuses, and cash incentives. Millenials care about the organization's commitment to being green, social networks available, community service opportunities, and the various places in the company in which they can work and learn.
  • Use a slightly different coaching approach for each generation. Offer formal training programs (including topics like flexibility, technology, and interpersonal skills) for Boomers. When coaching Gen Xers, discuss development ideas as peers, and then give them independence and empowerment to try new things. When coaching Millenials, allow them to work in teams, and give them specific and timely feedback on their performance.
  • Understand that different generations are motivated by different rewards. When possible, tailor your rewards to the individual who will receive it. For example, a Baby Boomer may prefer a small bonus or gift card, while a Millenial prefers an email thank you with a new, challenging assignment.
Remember that all employees, despite their generation, want to be treated fairly, managed with respect, and given an opportunity to grow.