Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Women at Work- How Happy are You?

There has been a lot in the media lately about Women in business.   Especially since Sheryl Sandberg, FACEBOOK executive, wrote the book LEAN IN, about Women, Work and the Will to Lead.

women at workThe book’s media has brought to light age old issues about women in the workplace.  We are treated differently, we are paid differently, we are mentored differently.  While I do believe things are getting better, generally speaking, we have a ways to go.  It all stems from your ability to be happy at work.

Failure to Launch

Companies spend millions on new systems to help streamline processes to improve productivity and increase efficiency.  However, they often allocate just pennies on change management strategies which are often the deciding factor between success and failure. 

It is essential to ensure impacted associates understand how to operate in their new world and can adapt to the new systems and to processes. If they can’t adapt, the initiative will fail. Success hinges on preparing the organization at all levels for what this new world will look like and how associates can be successful within it.
shutterstock_164199434_optWhen we change the working world, the people operating within it lose a sense of what success looks like. It’s up to the change management partners to make sure everyone understands how they transition from old to new and how to be successful.
The No. 1 reason enterprise projects fail is because they don’t have adequate executive leadership support or sponsorship. Without leadership, 56% of projects fall behind schedule and 37% run over budget.
More than a third of projects are considered complete or partial failure, and less than 20% fully achieve the stated objective. Without strong leadership behind the change process, employees express confusion and frustration because they lack of support and direction. They become disengaged, which increases mistakes, reduces productivity, causes turnover, and leads to the failure of the project.
The responsibility of the C-suite as leaders is to get behind the critical initiatives that are tied to new technology, but they rarely serve as an example of proper adoption — they talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. It’s not enough to speak about the importance of change. Their actions need to support that sentiment because that will set the tone for the entire organization.  Company executives need to champion the change by speaking about it at every opportunity, asking questions, getting feedback from associates on the transition and holding people accountable for the success of the implementation. Also, they need to let go of the old system and embrace the new. They can’t tell associates to get out of their comfort zone and then ask them to generate a report from the old system.
It’s helpful if executives present the benefits of making the change. Talk about why the new system is being implemented and the benefits to company and employees. Also, set realistic expectations. Give associates time to learn and be patient with their questions and concerns.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy New Year!  Well, better late then never!  Time for all of our resolutions to start (and probably end!).  I have had a fabulous start to my new year.  Was extremely excited to go to a Tony Robbins event - Business Mastery!  WOW!  Tony IS the real deal - highly recommend anything he puts on - expensive, but worth it!

A few "take-aways" I thought I would pass along include the following:

  • Complexity is the KILLER to execution - keep it simple!
  • Be a gladiator - Be prepared to do well in ANY environment (recession, etc) that means you must continually BRAND yourself.  How do YOU add value to your company? 
  • Success is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics - Your attitude can make or break you! (validated in Powered by Happy)
  • Proximity is POWER - Hang with people that will help you be the BEST you - (validated in Powered by Happy- "Hang with a gang that gets it")
  • How do you not just be good at what you do - how do you become the BEST - don't settle for mediocre
  • If you don't FEEL successful, you lose momentum - how do you stay in "state" - meaning stay in the mode of CANI (constant and never-ending improvement)
  • get optimize
Life it too short to not be the best you!  What can you commit to in order to make those resolutions something that will continue and challenge yourself?  Unleash the power within! 

Have a GREAT week!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Executive Change

Top 5 things leaders can do to champion change:

Smart leaders know they don’t “make change happen”.  They understand that people in their organization do the work, change behaviors and ultimately make change happen.  They see that their role is to make the change meaningful and easier to accept.  Smart leaders champion change.

1 – They sell more than they tell

Smart leaders know how to sell their ideas. They understand that “telling” someone what’s going to happen is very different from “selling” them on the idea.  I do not suggest that smart leaders use so called “high pressure” sales tactics.  By selling, I mean they look for ways to get people emotionally committed to the change.

They tell stories, they pain a vision of a better future and they engage positive emotions for people.  They stay focused on the benefits rather than the costs.  They understand that people need time to adjust to and to accept the change.  They work to inspire buy-in instead of compliance. 

2 – They help people tune-in to WII-FM

Sales and marketing professionals talk about the radio station that most people tune-in to on a daily basis.  They know about WII-FM (What’s in it for me).

If it’s true about people in the marketplace, then it’s true about people in the workplace.  Smart leaders know how to answer the questions on every employee’s mind:  “what’s in it for me?”

Dr Aubrey Daniels, noted behavioral analyst and author of “Bringing out the Best in People”, makes two great comments regarding process of change acceptance.

·         People don’t resist change, they resist being changed
·         People don’t resist change if the change provides immediate positive consequences to them

Smart leaders know that people are generally more willing to do things that bring personal benefit than they are to do things that benefit the organization.  They take a pragmatic, not a cynical or negative, view of human nature.   They see people for who they are and work to adjust their strategy to go with – not against – the natural drives of people in their organization. 

3 – They work through the “head grapes”

Every organization has a grapevine – an unofficial communications channel that often moves faster than official ones.  You might call the people who other people listen to, and therefor influence the grapevine, the head grapes. 

Smart leaders are not so impressed with themselves that they believe they have to do all o the influencing. 

They know that the grapes have more personal influence within certain employee groups than they do.  They understand leadership is about trust and relationship; it is not about position.  Recognizing this fact, they seek out influencers in the organization to make things happen rather than bring recognition to themselves.

They strive to get the influencers onboard with the change.  They understand the power of relationships, and they put that power to work.  They work with the head grapes to affect change so that they don’t have to push against the “head grapes” resistance. 

4 – They break the change into “bite-sized” pieces

Smart leaders understand that people need both information about the reason behind the change and time to adjust to it.  They also realize that they can’t wait forever to get everyone to commit to the new direction.  So, they break down big changes into small pieces that people are most likely to accept quickly. 

By moving forward in small steps, smart leaders move their organizations with frequent, continual and steady forward progress rather than through periodic big jumps. 

5 – They build positive momentum

When they break larger changes into smaller, more manageable, bite sized pieces, smart leaders position themselves to build positive forward momentum.  Smart leaders know that an early failure or setback can create more resistance later – even if they do manage to overcome it.

Building a record of quick, early wins helps people accept the upsets that will happen on the w ay to success.  Smart leaders understand the power of momentum – either positive or negative.  They break changes into small pieces that improve their odds of success, and then they pick the highest probability of success steps as their first move. 

Keeping your associates motivated through change:
Why is it that some businesses have people who stay with them and consistently perform well? How do they keep them motivated, even through the toughest changes?
Here are a few essential elements at the CORE (Clarity, Opportunity, Recognition and Equilibrium) of successful employment relationships:
To get the right results, you need to be clear about:
  • the plan: business goals and values provide the foundation for alignment of people with business needs
  • competencies: the skills and behaviors which drive your recruitment, selection and training activities
  • roles:  the tasks that people are to perform and the results that are expected
  • resources: the systems, tools, information and relationships needed to succeed
  • communication: ongoing and open dialogue to ensure continuing alignment of people with business needs.
People want to do a good job and generally welcome opportunities to:
  • be involved: to be asked for their opinion and to have the opportunity to make a contribution
  • grow:  to develop skills and experience new opportunities for expanding and applying their knowledge and expertise
  • comply: to understand what is expected of them in results and behaviour and do it
  • succeed: to deliver the results expected.
Recognition of people’s value to the business is critical for ongoing motivation and delivery of results. These include:
  • remuneration and benefits:  ensuring that people receive pay, benefits  and conditions of employment appropriate to the role that they perform and its worth in the marketplace
  • ongoing feedback: investing the time to have regular reviews against personal goals, recognition of achievements and areas for improvement
  • rewards: personal incentives such as public recognition, gifts or gift vouchers, development opportunities, etc.
  • correction: despite best efforts, sometimes a relationship doesn’t work and underperformance needs to be addressed promptly, sensitively and legally.

People like a sense of balance and assurance. This includes:
  • life balance: balancing our family and personal needs and our working life is a key driver in attracting and retaining good people
  • respect: mutual respect between the employer and the employee and the capacity for open and honest communication
  • team: people want to belong and to have a sense of being part of a collective in which they are respected for who they are and what they contribute
  • security: the knowledge that the business is successful, my job is safe and I will be able to provide for my needs and those of my family
  • sustainability: people’s confidence in the business commitment to continuous improvement and good corporate citizenship.
Focus on these core elements and you will optimize your prospect of having motivated people in your business and a great return on your investment in people.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Starting over.....

Gosh, it's been a long time!  As most of you experience, I'm sure, sometimes "life" takes over and things fall by the wayside!  As you can see from the rarity of blog posts, this has happened to me.  Sigh. 

I'm proud to say parenting has always come first for me, even with my crazy busy career!  And with this, comes prioritizing....and well, my kids were always on top which meant other things had to slide, i.e. this blog... things have changed, My husband and I have just become an "empty nesters".  So, in essence, we am starting over.  Yes, we am still parents, thankfully, but they will not be depending on us daily anymore (and maybe it's been awhile since they have depended on me, but please indulge me a bit :))

My daughter, Tiffany, said to me a few weeks ago "Mom, I'm so happy for you - for the last 23 years you have put Madison and I first - now you can focus on you.....and Dad".  What a sweet thing to hear from your kid! So, that's what I am doing,  I'm starting over.  Many mixed emotions are going through my mind right now....Excited, anxious, nervous, scared and sad.  How can all of them occur at once?  I don't know, but they do!  One minute to the next, my emotions can change.  But I have to admit, they are mostly good!  Sure, I am sad my kids are on to their next chapter, but I feel good about it.  I was the best mom I could be, I have no regrets.  My kids know I loved them, I was at every event I could be, I ENJOYED them and hopefully I prepared them. 

While starting over is scary, whether it is changing careers / jobs, changing marital status, losing someone you love or becoming an empty nester, it can also be fulfilling.  This is where resiliency comes in.  Resilient in bouncing back from your fears, from your doubts, from your sadness, from your failures.  Its about embracing the here and now. Relishing in the good memories and making new ones. Being present in all you do!  Maybe it's time to re-define "What does happiness mean to me"?  Whatever it is, engage in your change.  Make it the best it can be by creating a plan on how you will start over with a vision and a mission!  Define it and make it your destiny!  Surround yourselves with those who will contribute to your plan and your success and depart from those who don't. 

Make it all about YOU!  Be passionate about YOU.  It's time.  What's going on in your life where you can "start over"?  Whether it is getting in shape, leaving a bad relationship, leaving a bad job or   spending more time with the people you love.  Whatever it is, make the change be a positive one for you!  That is my wish for you!  Make it happen!

Monday, November 11, 2013

R E S P E C T - Find out what it means to me!

Recently I had the privledge of speaking with Paul Meshanko who wrote the book, The Respect Effect.  The Respect Effect is about the power of respect in the workplace and how it ties to employee engagement.  What was interesting is that Paul and I never met before we spoke together, I as the key note presenter (on methodologies from Powered by Happy) and he as the main speaker on his book.  What was interesting is that Paul's book is based on research and neuro-science.  My book is based on practical experience.  Our key messages were the same - almost eerily so.  How happiness at work is very much tied to engagement at work which is very much tied to feeling respected / valued at work.  It was refreshing to me that my experience / book content is also validated by research and neuro-science!

When you respect your employees (and they FEEL respected), there is an actual neurological response in your brain that helps that person become more engaged and perform better.  How much does it cost as leaders to do this?  Same with recognizing employee's value, knowing what motivates them, aligning their job with their passion, aligning the person with the culture and values of your company, etc.. These all tie in to employee engagement and happiness at work.  The best part about it, it's FREE!  However, the benefits are HUGE to not only your employee's career but also the impact to your bottom line and customer retention.  So I ask you, can you afford NOT to respect your employees? 

Monday, March 4, 2013

The 3 Leadership Behaviors That Make Your Employees Feel Fulfilled

Engaged workplace. Positive, employee-friendly culture. Individualized reward system. You've heard all of these catch-phrases before when it comes to finding out how to make your employees truly feel inspired at work. But what does it all mean?
That's what Beth Thomas tries to figure out every day -- and the answer varies for each company. Thomas, managing director of consulting services, at Dublin, Ohio human resources consulting firm Sequent says that leaders need to build their own inspiring workplace cultures instead of following another's lead.
There is plenty of research to back up the notion that keeping employees happy also keeps them productive. But if you don't really believe that it's important to spend time and thought on keeping employees happy, it's never going to become the priority that it needs to be, Thomas says. Leaders need to look at the importance and benefits of motivating employees and keeping them interested in doing good work.
So while exactly what will make individuals at different companies feel happy and fulfilled at work may vary there are a few golden rules that work across the board.
1. Recognize even routine jobs.
Employees are motivated when they can see the impact of their work, Thomas says. Find ways to show employees at every level how their work has an impact on the overall company. If your manufacturing line or warehouse team fulfilled a big order on time, go tell them how much you appreciate their work or buy lunch for them. Some jobs can feel thankless -- change that.
2. Reward outstanding work.
When employees do a great job or go above and beyond the call of duty, it has to be recognized, Thomas says. That does two things: It makes the employee feel valued, and it also models that behavior for other team members. “Find the behaviors that you want to cultivate and reward those in a public way,” she says. Be careful not to overemphasize one employee, as that can breed resentment. Instead, if you have an employee who consistently performs well, find a way to move him or her into a mentoring position to further cultivate that behavior.
3. Understand what really matters to your employees.
Make sure those little feel-good perks actually hit home. Thomas says it makes no sense to spend money on coffee gift cards or company t-shirts if your employees don't care about them. Instead, use surveys, focus groups and interviews to get information about the rewards that matter. For some employees, it's about money. Others are delighted at an evening out on the boss or when they're treated to lunch. Earning a half-day off or the ability to have some flexibility in work time, when possible, can also be powerful ways to keep employees motivated to perform.
In addition, Thomas says it's critical to monitor the workplace for negative situations and toxic behavior. If you find it, work with the employee on correcting it or that negativity could affect other employees and make them less enthusiastic about your workplace.