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Silos Belong On Farms…

A CEO over lunch last year said she needed to break down silos in her organization.

“How many employees and departments do you have?” I asked.

“Six employees and four departments.”

I thought to myself, “Silos in an organization with just six people, how is that possible?”

As our conversation continued, a voice in my head shouted, “this is a serious leadership problem.”

So I asked, “This sounds like a priority for you, so I guess you’ve made teamwork and collaboration a part of every employees’ performance review, so it’s the expectation, right?”

In response I got the ‘deer in headlights’ look.

I added, “If you want teamwork and collaboration to be the norm, you have to set that as the expectation, set accountability to it, and set up rewards for it.

I told her, “Unfortunately, it won’t just happen.

She hadn’t been doing that, and admitted it.

So many small business leaders just expect it to occur through osmosis, or wishing and hoping.

Since our meeting about 18 months ago I see her from time to time at regional events and my sense is that not much has changed.

This is not unusual.

Many small business owners and leaders of small not-for-profit organizations have the best of intentions.

But, they are wearing so many hats that things like this that take extra energy and focus, take a back seat.

Then, they get forgotten.

So, they come to me to keep them focused.

If…

  • Key initiatives in your company continue to fall through the cracks…
  • Silos are developing ever thicker walls with the silo leaders developing more entrenched attitudes…or if,
  • Employees just do the minimum to stay above the firing line…

You would definitely benefit from one of my Revolutionary Leadership Strategy Sessions –

To learn more, and request one of the 5 free sessions I will be offering for February…

Go to www.RevolutionaryLeadershipCoaching.com/freestrategysession

Talk to you soon!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

 

 

 

 

P.S. – Because of my schedule I can only offer 5 free strategy sessions each month and they’re first come, first served, so request yours now at www.RevolutionaryLeadershipCoaching.com/freestrategysession


Conscious Communicator Tip #4 – Always Presume Good Intent (300 words or less)

Conscious communicators become “champion” power communicators when they adopt certain beliefs about how they should communicate. Over the next three weeks you will learn the top 3 beliefs that make the difference in your ability to exert positive influence.

The first of these 3 beliefs is, Presume Good Intent.

Imagine how many times someone initiates a conversation and you immediately put a wall up anticipating the individual has an ulterior motive or agenda behind their communication. You are presuming negative, maybe even, manipulative intent.

Often, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It causes you to recognize only behaviors that reinforce your beliefs and you delete any possible behavior not be consistent with your beliefs.

As a leader, this is not conducive to generating effective results with others. The only approach for a leader is to presume good intent.

If you have ‘history’ with an individual, you absolutely have a right to be cynical. Yet, as a leader it is incumbent upon you to take each situation as it comes and realize that the 
past does not necessarily equal the future.

Presuming positive intent leads you to communicate with an open mind, allowing for a discussion of possibilities and opportunities.

If you have significant history with this individual, you can always use President Ronald Reagan’s Cold War approach of “trust and verify.”

Additionally, realize that all human beings only do things for positive intent, and even though that positive intent may be extremely selfish and self-serving, it still comes with that foundation, and we all have that right.

As a leader it is our responsibility to help the individual see how their approach is counter to their best interests, then influence their communication style.

This approach will allow you to reinforce your belief and presume good intent” every time.

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


Conscious Communicator Tip #3 – The True (& Only) Purpose of Your Communication (300 words or less)


In communication workshops I often start by asking participants to tell me what they think the purpose of communication is.

The reason I ask this question for them to tell me the purpose of communication is because I need to motivate people to want to be more conscious in their communication. And, since the genesis of all motivation is “purpose” I know when my workshop participants are clear on their purpose for communicating, their motivation to apply what I’m teaching them is likely to follow.

Most times I receive answers like, “to convey information,” “to make sure my opinion is heard,” or “to get things done.” All are correct, yet incomplete. Back in the fall I wrote a blog article about the difference between “means” goals and “ends” goals, and the reasons above are just “means” goals.

Having studied workplace communication full time for 11-years and having received my college degree in communication, I feel somewhat qualified to share with you my belief as to the true purpose of communication, which is an “ends” goal:

“To influence and control the circumstances, experiences and results in your personal and professional life!”

Think about it. Isn’t that what you want your communication to do for you?

For me, the purpose of this communication each week is to influence and control the results I get in helping you become a more conscious communicator, which in turn when you achieve better results from the tips and strategies you receive from our relationship, it will help me influence the growth of my business through additional client work and referrals.

It’s the same for all of us. So, what do you think of this “purpose?” Does it resonate with you? Do you have a better one, let me know, leave a comment or reply via e-mail.

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


The Value of Corporate Values & Do They Matter Anymore?

Tomorrow I’m speaking at two classes at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business MBA program, and one of them ins on Corporate Governance. I was originally struggling with what value I could offer students in a course of that title, until the law professor that hired me to speak to her students told me that a key component of this class is “corporate integrity” especially as it relates to the integrity of the senior executives.

Interesting that I’m going to speak just a few days after one of the most revered U.S. military generals of recent generations just resigned due to a falling of personal and professional integrity. So, here I go and the topic is on The Value of Corporate Values and Values Based Problem-Solving & Decision Making. 

Of course, the value of corporate values is only as good as the integrity of the human beings in the corporation running the show, from the board of directors on down through the senior executives and supporting staff.

Sometimes I think there is no value in corporate values. Yet, they are always part of the strategic planning process. Often, when I’m facilitating I worry that its an exercise in futility.

It’s this fear that drives me to drill the participants in my client’s strategic planning sessions to dig deep as to what they mean, how they can make a difference when engaged and how we can put systems in place so they do integrate into the organization’s culture.

When done right, this is how it works:

  • Values drive Beliefs
  • Beliefs drives Behaviors
  • Behaviors drive Performance
  • Performance drives Results 

Therefore, if your job is to drive results, the level to which your results are delivered has a direct correlation to the clarity of your values and the behaviors that define them.

If you’d like help in creating a value’s driven organization that really works, let me know with an e-mail, I’d be happy to discuss how we can easily make that happen.

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


When Setting Goals in Strategic Planning Remember This Important Distinction

I’m pleased that I received so many comments last week in response to my new 4R Strategy for Results for businesses to apply in their strategic planning for 2013. The comments I received came both directly on the blog article itself and to me individually via e-mail.

Between those comments and a couple of client discussions I’ve had recently I want to make sure everyone is aware of an important distinction in goal setting.

There are two types of goals that often get confused in the strategic planning process:strategic planning and goal setting model, replaces the old SMART Goals formula

  • Means Goals
  • Ends Goals

Means Goals:
Means goals are the interim results we need to achieve on the way towards our ultimate desired outcomes.

Ends Goals:
Ends goals are the ultimate end result we desire to achieve

For example, in the work I do with my clients to help them achieve a high-performing, positive, productive and profitable work environment, which is often is defined with specific revenue and profit goals, this is their ultimate ends goal.

To make that ends goal achievable we have to achieve other things such as improving communication in the workplace, breakdown silos across the departments/divisions at various levels of the organization, improve teamwork, internal customer service, etc. These are the means goals.

Its important to understand this difference. If business leaders get stifled on means goals the results will also be less than what is ultimately possible because the means goals will be seen as the ends goals.

For both means goals and ends goals it is also important to define them in measurable terms. How will you know when you have achieved the goals. What evidence will you use to determine if you are effectively moving towards your desired objectives.

Hope these last two articles help as you plan for 2013, which is just around the corner.

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

 


3 Ingredients to Building a High-Performing Team at Your Workplace in just 96 Seconds

Click on the blue arrow in the center of the video to play.


Leadership Made Simple – The Only 3 Skills Organizational Leaders Need

I guess its not surprising that the first day back in the office from a workshop on “common sense” consulting, I’m writing a blog post on simplifying leadership.

Search Google for the keyword “leadership” and you will get 513 million results in .15 seconds.

That’s a lot of leadership advice. Somewhere in those 513 million Google search responses are some articles from my Leadership & Workplace Communication blog. And, today I want to synergize everything I know about leadership down to balancing these 3 simple skills:

  • Ability to learn from the past and apply those learnings to future actions and behaviors.
  • Focusing on what can be controlled in the present and take action only on those.
  • Creating an inspiring vision for the future and communicate it in a way to engage others.

For now, that’s all you need to know.

If you have something that does not or cannot fit within those three, leave a note and let’s discuss.

’til next time…make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


Happy “National Small Business Week” – Here Are 5 Critical Mistakes in Small Business Leadership

This week is the 5th Annual National Small Business Week.

In honor the event I thought I’d offer my 2-cents on the topic of small business leadership.

Many of my blog subscribers attended last week’s webinar on The 5 Critical Mistakes Small Business Leaders Make that Kill Productivity & Profits.

In this webinar I offered 5 things small business leaders must take a look at within their business in order to make sure they are running optimally.

For those of you who did not attend the webinar, I’ll list these five critical mistakes of small business leaders here:

  1. Not having a Championship Game Vision and articulating it clearly and consistently to the team.
    • create something inspiring that employees can get excited about contributing to, just like an athletic team playing for a championship
  2. Not investing enough time in the hiring process
    • invest time and energy making sure the new hire is a fit for the organization’s culture and put more attention on attitude, behaviors, beliefs and work ethic, and get to those through behavioral interviewing strategies
  3. Focusing on time worked vs. job performance results/outcomes
    • too much is focused on accomplished the tasks in job descriptions and ‘FaceTime’ in the office instead of defining clear results/outcomes that should be achieved from the position
  4. Think the paycheck is/should be enough for motivation
    • in the 21st century the paycheck is just not enough to motivate employees, and that’s a good thing as it takes the focus off the money and more on purpose and making a difference.
  5. Proclaiming to have a “Family Atmosphere” and trying to create one
    • Most families are dysfunctional and many family businesses are run dysfunctionally from a personnel perspective. Define the aspects of the culture you would like to incorporate into your organization and build from there, forget about defining it as a ‘family atmosphere.’

If you’d like to take this concept deeper, I encourage you to experience the webinar. If you go to http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=29303220 you can download a free mp3 audio recording and view the streaming webinar.

Enjoy National Small Business Week and the free webinar to help you make your business even better!

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

 

 


The “Science” of Workplace Communication & Performance Management

When I was in school I did virtually anything I could to avoid science classes. For some reason they didn’t interest me and bored me to death.

The interesting thing was as a young boy I was totally enamored with astronauts and the United States efforts to put men on the moon and return them safely to earth. I loved the Apollo space program. Yet, I couldn’t make the leap to the science and engineering to make it all happen. Somewhere there was a disconnect.

In college, my communications degree program required only 10 credit hours of math and natural sciences which I focused on the basic math classes of algebra and calculus with one class of astronomy for non-majors.

What does any of this have to do with the work I do know helping improve leadership and workplace communication, you may be asking?

Well, here’s what…

In facilitating a recent client session where we were flushing out some “communication” issues between team members I blurted out the comment that “every human communication is going to have some type of reaction in the person to whom we are communicating.”

In that moment, I realized it was similar to Newton’s third law of physics, “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

Similar, but with one big difference.

Often, reactions to communication are not always “equal and opposite.” Nor should we want them to be.

Most times we want the reaction to our communication to be affirming, not opposite. Often, though, we do get the opposite reaction to what we were hoping for. That is where influencing communication skills come in handy.

You’ve probably also had the experience where the reaction to a communication was not only opposite but also unequal. By that I mean someone makes a request, inquiry or statement in a calm, respectful manner and receives an emotional outburst as a reaction that is totally inappropriate and uncalled for.

Similarly, arguments often escalate because each person does react equally to the other’s emotional intensity with a reaction that is not affirming but opposite from what they would like it to be, and the conflict ensues.

These are just some thoughts to build our communication skills that have been coming to me more since raising the issue in last week’s article calling for people to be more “conscious” when they communicate, instead of communicating with their default habits.

’til next time, let me know what you think and leave a comment below. Make it a great week!

P.S. – don’t forget to join me this Thursday, May 17th at 12noon Eastern time for my newest webinar Leadership for the Small Business: Avoiding the 5 Critical Mistakes that Kill Productivity & Profitsclick this link to learn more and register, it’s FREE!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

 

 

 


A Simple Step to Improve Teamwork at Your Workplace

I’m getting ready to begin a new client project this week and in discussing the scope of the project, one of the desired objectives identified was improving teamwork among the small staff.

In investigating the issue further during our discussion, another objective we uncovered was the breaking down of the silos in the organization. When the concept of “silos” was mentioned, I as flabbergasted! I almost fell out of my chair.

“Silos?” I exclaimed back to my prospective client, “you have less than 10 employees, how is that possible?”

This brought the conversation back to the teamwork concept, and people stepping in to help each other when the situation warrants. This would look like people either noticing that help is needed and volunteering to step up to pitch in, or to gladly accept the opportunity with a smile instead of grumbling or complaining with an “it’s not my job” response.

I asked one simple question that turned the conversation. “Well, is ‘teamwork’ and working to support other’s on the staff part of everyone’s performance expectations?”

My prospect asked me what I meant by that and I said, “do you discuss the willingness and ableness of individual team members contribution to teamwork in your regular performance conversations?”

After a few seconds of stunned silence the reply was, “you know, I guess we don’t.”

What gets measured, gets attention and will usually get done. Therefore, if you want teamwork to be a priority, then you as a leader must make it so. This means making it part of everyone’s job performance standards and behavior expectations (this is much different than a job description and should be developed for each job in the company).

In moving forward with this project I can assure you that teamwork will be part of everyone’s job performance standards and behavior expectations.

But, and this is a BIG BUT, if this sounds like something you need in your organization DO NOT just instill new performance standards and behavior expectations on your own as the organization’s leader. It will be seen with disdain and cynicism. This approach will get you compliance with little commitment and buy-in.

In the work with my client, first we’re going to have to discuss with the team what great “teamwork” looks like and why they would want to be part of an organization that has it, and how their present approach to teamwork matches the definition they just created so that we can identify the gap to gain buy-in to building a bridge of new thinking and actions to close the gap, they themselves, identified. That’s where true commitment will come.

If teamwork, or any other individual/group behavior, is not at the level you would like it to be, then figure out a way to make it a priority for all and begin measuring accountability to it. If you’d like help with this, I encourage you to join me for my April 26th Open-Forum Q&A Coaching Webinar where you can join me LIVE to have your specific situation addressed.

Go to www.ChampionBusinessLeadership.com/laserwebinar to register for FREE .

Hope this blog article helps you look at one very simple and overlooked way to make teamwork work at your organization.

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


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