The Daily Recruiter

The Ezine for Executive Managers … brought to you by The SearchLogix Group.

Category: Leadership (Page 1 of 18)

Be Authentic with Staff

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” By Joyce Warner, of SmartBrief”

In my 20 years of leading teams both large and small, I’ve never heard anyone say, “We wish you would pretend to ask our opinion more!”

Of course, all staff want to and should be heard, but pretending to ask their opinions is always worse than not asking at all. People are perceptive, so they can usually tell when you are not really asking, and ultimately it makes them lose (and often never regain) trust in the leader.

And when you pretend to ask, it might sound a lot like when you ask your better half, “Does this outfit make me look fat?” Everyone knows if you want to have a nice evening out, there is only one answer to that question.

So how can you be more authentic and credible when collecting feedback?

  1. Decide if there really are two or more paths available to the organization and if staff feedback will lead to a better decision. If there really is only one viable path, don’t ask. Instead, explain the reasoning behind your decision. As the leader, sometimes you must decide, and you probably have access to more information to inform your decision. Being authentic in what led you to make the decision can go a long way, especially with bad news. Show empathy when the situation warrants it.
  2. Ask clear questions and use anonymous spot polls. The technology to do this online is ubiquitous and many free versions exist. This type of poll also helps the normally quiet voices be heard equally along with those who regularly speak up. Long surveys generally have lower response rates and can be less valuable.
  3. Right-size the number of open-ended questions in surveys. If the staff survey respondent pool is large, voluminous free response answers are a bear to code and analyze correctly. Also, have someone objective (read: external) review and process the data.  You can always go back with another survey to do a deep-dive on a specific topic if you need more information.
  4. With any committees you form to help in the decision-making process, make sure they have members that are generally perceived as competent and credible, represent the diversity of staff views, and are not afraid to speak their mind. If the committee looks cherry-picked with “yes men/women,” everyone will think it is a sham and waste of company time.
  5. Consider the appropriateness of collecting one-to-one feedback, and if you do, don’t spend the whole time trying to sway the other person to your view. It’s a huge turn-off when someone barely has the chance to express what they think and you are already giving the impression that if they don’t agree with you there will be a mark against them.
  6. Tell folks how their feedback will factor into your decision-making before you collect it.Don’t give the impression that you will go with the will of the people and then do the opposite. Be prepared to share data collected and present it objectively, or risk your staff making and projecting their own analysis of what people really think.
  7. Don’t tell some staff how you plan to act on an issue while telling others you haven’t made up your mind yet. News travels fast, and leaders don’t always really know who is friendly with whom in an organization. I like to say there is invisible fiber optic cable carrying information throughout any organization.
  8. Be present after you announce a decision and deliver only good news on Fridays or before holidays. It’s hard to be the bearer of bad news, but looking like you are running away from your decision doesn’t breed confidence in you as a leader.
  9. Own bad decisions. Everyone makes a bad decision every once and a while. The most authentic thing you can do is own it. This lets staff know it’s ok for them to be open and own it if they make a bad decision.

Full disclosure, my husband came up with the title of this piece after I shared the concept. Note to self: Stop asking him if I look fat in this dress.

Your Reputation matters

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” By Denise Lee Yohn, of Dennise Lee Yohn”

This month I’m speaking to an organization about corporate reputation and trust.  The CEO has designated trust as one of their key priorities and they’ve asked me to help their top leaders understand why corporate reputation matters and what role they play in building it.  Given how frequently corporate crises arise these days, I can imagine you might grapple with your corporate reputation too, so I thought I’d share some of my points here and in my next post.

What Is Corporate Reputation

Let’s start with some clarification:  Corporate reputation, as the dictionary defines it, is the collective assessments of a corporation’s past actions and the ability of the company to deliver future results.

Reputation Institute, a leading research and advisory firm for reputation, does a survey every year that measures companies’ reputations on 7 dimensions:

  1. Products & Services
  2. Innovation
  3. Workplace
  4. Governance
  5. Citizenship
  6. Leadership
  7. Performance

They survey 170,000 respondents around the world on their agreement with statements including

  • I believe the organization’s products are high in quality, value and service and meet the customers’ needs.
  • I believe the organization maintains good workplaces, treating and rewarding employees fairly.
  • I believe the organization’s leaders are excellent and visionary managers, and strong endorsers of their companies.

From these responses, they produce a reputation score for each company and publish a ranking.

They have identified what they call “supportive behaviors” that a company’s stakeholders will engage in if it has a positive reputation, such as customers will buy their products, investors will invest in them, and employees will want to work for them.

Ronald Alsop, in his book The 18 Immutable Laws of Corporate Reputation: Creating, Protecting, and Repairing Your Most Valuable Asset, examines these behaviors as well.  Based on these two resources and several others, I’ve compiled the following list of benefits of having a strong corporate reputation among different stakeholder groups.

Corporate Reputation Impact on Stakeholders

  • Investors and financial analysts. An excellent reputation generates higher valuations and stock prices.  Alsop reports on a study of 216 companies where higher stock values were found among companies with a strong reputation and another study of 10 investment portfolios which showed they garnered higher prices if investors were confident they represented less risk — in other words if they trusted the companies more.  And according to PR firm Weber Shandwick, 60% of a company’s market value is derived from its reputation, so the better your reputation, the higher your valuation.
  • With reviews so prevalent and easily accessible, what other people say about you and your products is critical.  Weber Shandwick also found that your advertising and website influence consumer opinion about you far less than online reviews and what people say (56% and 74% vs. 83% and 89%.)
  • When a company has an excellent reputation, its employees have better morale and better productivity. They’re also less likely to leave the company, which can save your organization huge turnover costs.  And they’re more likely to act as brand ambassadors, proudly communicating about and representing your brand to friends and neighbors in their communities, the business partners they interact with, and even prospective employees.  And speaking of potential recruits, reputation also impacts your company’s ability to compete in the war for talent among prospective employees.  You can attract top talent employees with less cost.
  • Regulatory bodies and government agencies pay attention to the public sentiment of companies and their products.  Apple has definitely benefitted from this, not only in getting a more favorable outcome from a Senate hearing on its tax practices, as reportedby The New York Times, but also in getting permits for its new corporate office in Cupertino.
  • Undergirding all stakeholders is the goodwill of the public.  During crucible moments, your reputation determines whether the public gets behind you or demonizes you.   Consider what happened earlier this year when Kraft’s attempt to take over Unilever was squashed.  Kraft had lost public trust after the way it handled its takeover of Cadbury.  It had reversed the promises it made when it initiated the hostile takeover, closing factories, laying off thousands of workers, taking cost out of Cadbury product recipes which changed the taste of its beloved chocolate, and eventually spinning off the snack businesses which signaled that it didn’t value the Cadbury brand which is so beloved by so many. So when Kraft made a bid to acquire Unilever, it quickly found out it didn’t have the support it needed from regulators, from the industry, and most importantly from the public.

Bottom line, the better your reputation, the more you reduce operating costs and risk and increase valuation, revenue, and growth potential. That’s why your corporate reputation matters.

 

Leadership

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” By Julia Felton of Lead Change Group”

No-one I speak to disputes the fact that we live in a VUCA world full of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. We are living in a world where change is ever greater, where the future is less predictable, where the options increase exponentially, and the way we think about these options has undoubtedly changed.

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Avoid Tough Conversations

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By Scott Savage, of  The Thin Difference”

Are you avoiding a tough conversation with someone at work?

As soon as you read that question, someone’s name and face may have come to mind. You might have developed a gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach. You may have started to sweat or felt your heart rate increase.

If we were honest, many of us would share at least one conversation we’re avoiding at work. As a leader responsible for others, you might have more than one tough conversation you’re putting off.

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When to Quit

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“LightHouse.Com”

That’s not an easy question, but it’s one of many we’ve heard before.

In the process of growing Lighthouse and writing this blog, we have talked to a lot of leaders. Often, they share a challenge their facing.  Many of our posts are inspired by those conversations.

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Hidden Barrier

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“By Jennifer V. Miller of SmartBrief”

As a leader, you know that productive employees bring value to your team.

Recent findings from a white paper by consulting and training firm VitalSmarts highlight the magnitude of high performers’ productivity: they are 21 times less likely to experience tasks or responsibilities that “fall through the cracks.”

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7 Signs Your Growing

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“By Marlene Chism of SmartBrief”

Ray Kroc  who opened the first franchised McDonald’s and built the company into what it is today, is known for asking the question: “Are you green and growing or ripe and rotting?”

Most of us think we are growing, without really identifying the signs that indicate growth versus decay. Here are seven signs that you are still growing.

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Speak The Truth

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“By Art Petty Of  ArtPetty”

I would be shocked if you cannot recall being in a meeting where someone in a position of authority was uttering something so fantastically full of crap that you thought you might choke. I would be even more shocked if the general response of the individuals present in the meeting didn’t look like aerobic head nodding. In general, people struggle speaking truth to power.

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Think Positively

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By John Baldoni of SmartBrief”

What’s the secret to a long-term relationship?

“Overlooking the negative and focusing on the positive,” says Helen Fisher, a best-selling author on relationships and a fellow at the Kinsey Institute.

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Fake Humility

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“By Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic of Fast Company”

We’re generally quick to celebrate arrogant, egotistical people, especially when they’re clearly talented (Kanye, anyone?). But what if–like most people–you’re not extraordinarily capable? The answer is simple: You’re better off being humble.

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