Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Interview with Beth Burbage, Vice President of Organizational Development, Silverado

Beth Burbage is one of my favorite people, she has a strong passion for the work she does and deftly instills the same commitment to care in the employees at Silverado. She and I have worked together for many years and I have been able to witness under her leadership her department and her organization grow and thrive. Silverado continues to be recognized for their industry leadership in the care and treatment of the memory impaired. Welcome Beth!

JS: You have been actively involved in leadership development for many years now, in your opinion what leadership skills will be imperative in the next five years?

BB: “It’s all about relationships,” as one of Silverado’s Board Members, Vance Caesar, often says. I strongly believe that leaders need to have the ability to build relationships up, across and down in their organizations. This is not something new, but I feel that leaders can sometimes place too much emphasis on the “task side” of their jobs, with not enough attention being paid to the “people side.” Sure you’ve got to get the job done, but the role of the leader is to get work done with and through other people. If you don’t have excellent relationships, you absolutely cannot be successful. So as we take a look at the broader society and where leadership fits in in the next five years, I think relationships are more important than ever. When times are stressful and there is uncertainty in your world, you’ve got to rely on the foundation of your support system, which is the people who surround you. So what is the key to building these vital relationships? Trust. Extending trust to others and being trustworthy yourself. Both are critical to building solid relationships. A leader must be willing to be vulnerable and trust first. This can be very hard for some people. But I stand by that as the best way to start the relationship building process.

JS: Silverado has done a great job of incorporating emotional intelligence (EQ) into its leadership competencies. What EQ skills do you feel are most important for leaders, particularly in the senior care industry, to demonstrate?

BB: At Silverado we give LIFE to the people we serve. LIFE stands for Love, Innovation, Family, and Engagement. We also give LIFE to our associates. When we look for leaders who will embody these values, and who can live them on a daily basis, effective emotional intelligence competencies are a common denominator. Several that stand out to me as important at Silverado and the senior care industry as a whole are: empathy, flexibility, self-regulation, and self-awareness.

We work with families at an incredibly vulnerable time, when they have decided that they can no longer care for a loved one with dementia at home, and they need to find a new home for them. Empathy is an absolute necessity in being able to listen, understand, and provide guidance to family members as they are making tough decisions.
As we work to give LIFE to our residents with dementia and their family members, we need to be prepared for the unpredictable. The moment-to-moment landscape at the community is constantly changing, so flexibility is key.

If leaders become unnerved in this ever-changing environment, then they can model the wrong things to our associates, escalate issues unintentionally, and sometimes undermine the trust that family members and associates have in them. So the next EQ skill of self-regulation comes into play along with flexibility. Does the leader know how to thoughtfully choose their reaction to the situation at hand? Can they remain calm under pressure? These are things we try to determine when hiring and promoting leaders.

All EQ skills are important, but the last one that I think is critical in our environment is self-awareness – it actually may be the most important EQ skill in my opinion. If a leader is not able to understand their own emotions, is not tuned into their strengths and weaknesses, then I believe they cannot succeed as a leader. You have to know where your weaknesses are so that you can develop or hire others to fill those gaps. You need to be open to receiving feedback and doing something with it. This will build your self-awareness and help you to be the best leader you can be.

JS: Many organizations struggle with bringing the concept of emotion into the business conversation. Silverado has done a great job with incorporating your operating philosophy of “LOVE is greater than fear” openly into your culture. What is your advice for companies who want to make emotions safe for daily conversation? What value has it provided your leaders?

BB: Having LOVE is Greater than fear (L>f) as our operating philosophy certainly has a huge impact on our culture. You can see it in action at all levels in our organization; from one-on-one conversations between individuals, all the way up to how the philosophy is used as the main guiding principle behind how our executive team makes decisions that impact the whole company. It was our CEO,Loren Shook, who initially introduced the concept to the executive team. He struggled with how it would be received, but overcame his own fear to take the next steps. With this in mind, I believe that one of the markers for success is that we had senior level support from the beginning. We had a leader with a vision. We have been relentless in our pursuit of ensuring that the philosophy lives on and is embraced by all associates. We have also worked hard to define what the behaviors look like that represent “coming from love.” We train our associates on the philosophy at new hire orientation. It’s included in all of our leadership training. We are vigilant about being sure that people understand what it means to come from love. The phrase “love is greater than fear” is heard in the hallways, in most meetings, and is something that associates have personally embraced and taken home with them. My advice is to keep in mind that it’s not just one thing that makes it ok to bring emotions into our workplace, it’s all of these things and more. From a leadership standpoint, having this philosophy makes a leader’s job easier. The training that we provide clearly outlines the expected leadership behaviors. When a leader can ask him or herself, what would I do if I were doing the right thing at the right time (coming from love)? And then be supported by their management for their actions that spring from this thought process, they know they did the right thing. They feel valued.

 About Beth Burbage
Beth Burbage is the Vice President of Organizational Development for Silverado Senior Living. She has over 25 years of experience in the learning and development field and directs all aspects of Silverado's Organizational Development (OD) function. This includes organizational effectiveness, leadership development, and interpersonal effectiveness for leaders, team development, as well as coaching and mentoring systems. Beth has responsibility for continually building the company's stock of human capital and encouraging associate development and engagement. She also facilitates implementation of appropriate change management initiatives, and reviews current development programs to ensure alignment with the company vision, values, and goals.  

During the past eight years at Silverado Beth has won several awards. In 2014 the OD department was honored by California State University, Fullerton’s Center for Leadership with an annual award for “Excellence in Leadership Development.” She was recognized by the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) in 2012 with a Program to Watch for Silverado’s Leadership Development Forum. She was also selected by ALFA for a Best of the Best award in both 2010 (for LOVE>fear Training) and 2008 (for LIFE Leaders Training).In 2007 she was recognized by Silverado’s President and CEO with the Management Excellence Award for implementing leader development programs.

Beth has presented at State (California, Texas and Arizona) and National (ALFA) assisted living conferences on various topics of leadership. She is an active member of the Organization Development Network, the NeuroLeadership Institute, and the Association for Talent Development (formerly ASTD).

Her last position was as Corporate Director of Organizational Development at Corinthian Colleges, Inc. where she had responsibility for all learning and organizational development for the corporation. Prior to this position Beth spent four years with the Fluor Corporation in the People Development function, and started her career in training and development at MCI, where she spent 14 years.

Beth holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. She served on the Board of the Orange County Affiliate of the National Human Resources Association for 5 years, where she served as President.

Past work experience includes serving in the United States Army and working for the U.S. Government as a civilian in the Intelligence field in Vicenza, Italy.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

3 Ways to Deal with a Tough Situation at Work

Wouldn’t it be ideal if our work environments were guaranteed to be free of tough situations with a coworker, boss, or colleague? Unfortunately, this is usually not reality.  When you encounter challenging circumstances, it is critical to know how to handle it effectively. I received a call recently from a woman struggling with her manager. She felt the manager was being difficult, using sarcasm and backhanded passive aggressive comments. She asked what she should do. I gave her my standard list of options, here are my best suggestions for navigating a difficult situation in the workplace:

Deal with it Directly

Address the person openly and constructively. Change can only come if there is honest dialogue. Make sure to keep your tone from being accusatory or hostile. See Secrets of Straight Talk for tips on how to best do this. While a dialogue alone may not work, it could lay the foundation for a resolution that is mutually acceptable. Without a conversation, I can guarantee you that nothing will improve on its own.

Learn to Cope in a Healthy Way

Don’t say anything and instead choose to absorb the stress and cope with the situation in a healthy way. Channel your negative stress into something that’s constructive, whether that’s physical exercise, reflective journaling, or strategizing with a professional coach. Additionally, practicing yoga or meditation can help you keep your perspective, along with framing the situation with the question, “In the grand scheme of things, how important will this situation be in a year? Two years?” Find an outlet and you’ll be surprised how freeing it feels to work through your frustrations constructively.

Move On

Make the adult decision to move on. Sometimes you simply cannot change a situation, and chronically complaining or constantly worrying about it will not alter the circumstances. Building conflict serves no purpose but to escalate a tense situation, so instead of wishing things would improve, choose a better situation for yourself. This is not admitting defeat – it’s acknowledging that your time, energy, and mental health are all important and worthy of respect and consideration.

The woman later called me to let me know that she had chosen option 1, sat down with her boss and shared her honest feedback. She said it completely changed how her manager treated her and both were successfully working together. Good news.

While tough situations at work cannot always be avoided, it’s essential that you learn how to manage your response by either dealing with the issue directly or finding a way that helps you cope with the stress in a healthy manner. It’s also vital to recognize when the situation is no longer worth it and it’s time to walk away.

What are your best tips for dealing with tough situations in the workplace?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Market Basket - More Ego than EQ?

I have been watching with great interest the New England story of the battle going on at Market Basket. In short, it's coming down to rivalry between two cousins in a fight for power. As a result, the company has lost millions in revenue, employees have lost jobs and consumers have had to redirect their shopping to other options. I am not sure if they can even recover as a business at this point. My question is, how is the Board of Directors allowing this nonsense to continue? This is the risk of business owners filling their Boards with friends and family, which must clearly be the case here. Ego Trap 3 is Surrounding Yourself with More of You. Dangerous. And could cost you your company some day.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

SHRM 2014

This year's SHRM annual conference was held in Orlando FL, the largest US conference with 13,000 of your closest friends. I had the coveted speaking time of the last session on the last day. Thanks to the 350 die hards who stayed at the conference until the curtain closed.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Interview with Terri Timberman, Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources at Broadcom

Our firm has been working with Broadcom for many years now, a company with incredible engineering talent and some of the smartest people on Planet Earth. There is an ever present awareness of the important formula of IQ + EQ at the company so I am delighted Terri Timberman, their Executive VP of Global HR is joining us to answer a few questions about leadership at Broadcom. Welcome Terri!

JS: In your experience, what is the most common reason executives derail?

TT: There are a couple of common reasons that cause executives to derail.  Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has an impact on both. 

Most of us as executives need to have a strong ego to get to where we are.  Learning to manage that ego such that others can learn, succeed and develop is, in my opinion, one of the most challenging aspects of becoming a true executive leader.

The most common derail EQ area is executives who fail to make the transition from individual contributor to leader. They continue to do the things that made them successful earlier their careers without evolving their style.  It is the perpetual challenge inherent in shifting from individual or manager to executive and ultimately to being the strategic leader.  These are the executives who have difficulty delegating and who cannot distribute decision making and responsibility with authority to his/her staff. Executives with high EQ know that their roles have changed. They understand that while they may know how to do “it” and perhaps can even do “it” better, it’s essential to the development of their teams and to their own development to not do “it.” 

The second most common cause for executive derailing I’ve experienced combines a number of aspects of EQ.  Having spent almost my entire HR career in high technology, surrounded by brilliant technologists and scientists, I’ve seen more than my share of very, very smart executives who were not schooled in the art of leadership or communication.  The ability to create and communicate a vision, engage others in that vision, understand employees as individuals and create an environment of responsibility and accountability needed for job satisfaction and personal development are not skills generally taught as part of engineering degrees and often not as part of MBA programs. 

JS: Because your organization is heavily focused on technical skills, what role do you see EQ playing in career success at Broadcom?

TT: Broadcom, even more than most technology companies celebrates innovation and technical competence.  Innovation is a core value at the company and we celebrate these individuals who embody those skills and values.  As the company has grown, the need for high EQ technologists has grown, adding the need to demonstrate those skills through broad-based leadership.  We need our technical heroes (called Fellows and Distinguished Engineers) to mentor others.  They need to develop and mentor the next generation of innovators and can only do that through demonstrating strong levels of EQ.  It becomes a virtuous cycle, as each level of technology professionals develops those around them.  The “newer” engineers may have more current technical knowledge and are expected to share up, down and sideways.  The more experienced engineers help integrate the current technical skills and knowledge, coach others in how to communicate and mentor others, etc.  Ultimately in today’s workplace, while “experts” are valued, experts who exhibit EQ are the resilient survivors companies work to retain.

JS: Admitting weaknesses can feel vulnerable and some may not want to appear weak or to be struggling. In your opinion, what benefit is there for an executive to recognize their own EQ deficits and seek coaching?

TT: We have made “coaching” a privilege and a statement of the company’s commitment to executives.  When we provide an executive with a coach, it is a sign of our belief in the executive and his/her potential.  We view coaching as “the last few feet” in the long journey, meaning that for executives, it is intended to help him/her polish (improve) a last few skills in the tool box.  When successful executives share openly about the benefit (coaching) the company is providing him/her, rather than being viewed as weak or struggling, the executive is demonstrating EQ.  Often his/her success is viewed as connected to the coaching process. 

About Terri Timberman:

Terri Timberman serves as Broadcom's Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources. In this role, she is responsible for managing and leading Broadcom's HR and administration functions, including organizational development, employee relations, employee training and development, compensation and benefits, and recruiting and retention strategies. She also leads HR strategy for acquisitions and integration programs.
Ms. Timberman is an HR industry leader with more than 30 years of experience in innovative organizational design, development and strategic planning. She joined Broadcom in March 2009 after serving in senior HR positions at Planar Systems, Inc., AMI Semiconductor, Inc., Radisys Corporation, Merix Corporation, Tektronix, Inc. and TriQuint Semiconductors.
Ms. Timberman serves on the Boards of Directors of Broadcom Foundation and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), and is a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum of Oregon (ALFO). She is also the executive sponsor for Broadcom's Diversity and Inclusion strategy and Employee Engagement Group program that includes the Broadcom Women's Network, the Multi-cultural Network and the Aware Network.
Ms. Timberman received a B.A. in Organizational Communications from Marylhurst University, Portland, Ore.