Some Feedback about Feedback…

Some Feedback about Feedback…

I was at client meeting the other day with some fellow coaches and as we were being briefed on the company they shared that they were trying to build more of a feedback culture – as one of the lowest ranking items on their engagement survey was about receiving feedback. Deja Vu? I have been known to say that performance management is the bane of all HR professionals existence – we have been fixing, updating, changing our performance management systems forever. Same goes with feedback… why can’t we seem to make this happen or embed this into our cultures??? I don’t know about you but when someone says to me “I have some feedback for you” I kind of cringe a little bit inside but than take a deep breath and say to myself … all feedback is a gift. But is it really? Unfortunately feedback has become synonymous with “let me tell you what you have been doing wrong.” So, no wonder most people aren’t raising their hands willingly to get it, and most managers don’t look forward to giving it. Ok you may be thinking… now tell me something I don’t already know! I am not sure I can deliver on that but what I will say is … when I have received “feedback” from my managers, peers, staff, and significant others who have a sincere desire to help me to be better – it has been both powerful and life changing. Marshall Goldsmith, a highly respected leadership coach and management guru, has reframed this concept as feedforward. Feedforward focuses on helping people focus on the future...
I call it Tomato … You call it Tomahto … I call it Humility … You call It?

I call it Tomato … You call it Tomahto … I call it Humility … You call It?

Some of the words that show up on thesaurus.com under humility are shyness, non resistant, submissiveness, subservience, timidity. These are not the characteristics that one generally looks for in a successful leader. Nor do we want leaders with the following chartacter traits: arrogance, egoism, pretentious, self importance. These descriptors show up as antonyms for humility. So how would you label a leader that is able to admit when s/he is wrong and learn from others… who is willing to question or challenge him/herself, and listen to and hear different perspectives? I would call that leader someone who is going to bring the best out of his/herself as well as their organization. I would also call him/her better equipped to respond to the external and internal forces that threaten an organization’s health and prosperity. We can all think of leaders who got to their position by being really smart, bold, results oriented, etc. But often these very strengths can become blind spots that cause a leader’s derailment or failure to refresh their organization’s business model in response to market shifts and changing customer requirements. When these strengths turn into arrogance or even aggressiveness, a leader stops learning, challenging themselves and others to think differently. It is also no surprise that this type of leader engenders groupthink among the leadership team – where healthy debate is not encouraged and divergent thinking is shut down. So the next time you find yourself – cutting off the very people who you need to count on or you think you’re just too busy to attend a conference or session on new strategies, industry trends...
If At First You Don’t Succeed… Try, Try Again!

If At First You Don’t Succeed… Try, Try Again!

Ok, raise your hand if your plan is to fail in your current or next job assignment? I am pretty sure none of you raised your hand, and are probably thinking why would I ask such a facetious question! Well… because failure, while admittently unpleasant, is a really effective way to learn and gain insight that you may not have gotten otherwise, as well as an opportunity to build greater resiliency. But if you are like my 17 year old son – after I said something to this effect when he didn’t win a school election … your thinking “that may be true – but I still would rather have won!” Of course, we all want to win and be winners but according Carol Dweck (who is a leading researcher on motivation and a Professor of Psychology at Stanford) this innate desire and expectation to always win can be a fatal flaw, and can actually get in the way of achievement and success. According to Dweck’s research, if winning and succeeding is the only outcome you have set for yourself – it’s no wonder it feels really awful to lose, and you end up believing you are not as smart or as talented as you originally thought. Or even worse, you see your failure as someone else’s fault (e.g., they never liked me or wanted to see me succeed). This way of looking at your situation, she calls a fixed mindset, and is not very energizing. Moreover, it will not set you up for future success as you will be less likely to take risks and more likely to...
Be The Change You Wish To See

Be The Change You Wish To See

Those of you who know me – know that my tagline is Be the Change You Wish to See. I wish I could take credit for this brilliant statement but that would have to go to Mahatma Gandhi who specifically said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Basically It means that YOU have to be the change that you want to see in others or in situations …to truly embody or personify the change. Moreover, that you can be a catalyst for change by being a reflection of the very change you are looking for others to make happen. SO … If you want to be respected …you need to give respect and act respectful If you want your colleagues to embrace difficult challenges then you have to embrace difficult challenges If you want your organization to venture out into uncharted territory then you have to be willing to experiment and try new things you have never done before If want senior management to make decisions quicker when things are uncertain then you have to make decisions even when you may not have all the answers If you want your manager to help you advance in your career then you have to help others advance in their careers If you want your colleagues to recognize your value and contribution than you have to recognize the value and contributions that others provide If you want the freedom to make mistakes in the name of innovation then you can’t penalize or blame others when mistakes are made If you want a seat at the table you will...
5 Blunders to Avoid When Trying to Build Aligned Action

5 Blunders to Avoid When Trying to Build Aligned Action

Building alignment among your team, colleagues and other key stakeholders is critical to successfully implementing any business or functional transformation. Here are 5 blunders you will want to avoid. Delivering a compelling vision for change that is lackluster at best. I once witnessed a leader say that it was a very exciting time to be a part of the business after presenting some impressive data. BUT, if you were to go by the look on his un-animated face and the tone of his voice… you would say this was a boring time to be part of the business. So if you’re intent is to get your stakeholders excited about the changes to come… look and act excited! Asking for input when you are already set on what you are going to do. We all know nothing is worse than when a leader is just going through the motions. It’s almost as if he/she is just checking the box. “Solicit key stakeholders input… check!” So … if you ask for input make sure you really want it and are open to changing or modifying your thinking or plans. Believing that communicating via townhalls, memos, etc., means everyone now understands and accepts the change. Have you ever heard a leader say “I don’t understand why people act like they never heard about the change, I have talked about it multiple times already.” Yes the leader has talked about it enough for him/her to be clear about the change and he/she is raring to go but everyone else is still trying to figure out what this means for them. Most people stop...
Watch out… There’s a New Leader in Town!

Watch out… There’s a New Leader in Town!

Why do so many successful executives fail to successfully onboard to new companies or positions? Seems like a no brainer with all the books on the subject and common sense advice that is out there, right? WRONG!!! Typically when executives are brought in from the outside there usually is a gap within the organization in terms of specific leadership or functional capabilities and/or availability of internal talent with the required skillset or experience. So it’s no surprise that during the interview process the new executive often walks away thinking that they have been hired to bring substantial change to the organization or in some cases succeed where others have failed. Take for example, Joe Strong who has just been hired to transform the IT function that had been neglected for several years while the company was experiencing significant growth. No surprise then that the IT function was the highest source of pain and dissatisfaction from within the company and was also impacting the company’s ability to introduce innovative technology solutions to the market. So the platform for change was definitely burning. Joe was hired because of his previous experience successfully responding to similar challenges at his last employer and his bold confidence as a change agent. So how come Joe ends up exiting the organization approximately 20 months later? About 90 days into his tenure and after completing his due diligence, Joe meets with CEO and the rest of the leadership team and he assertively presents the long list of issues he’s uncovered as well as what needs to be fixed and his high level plan for doing so....