Life in the Pandemic: 3 Strategies Leaders Need to Keep Teams Moving Forward

The challenges leaders are facing this year are unlike anything many of us have ever seen. With a global pandemic, economic fallout, and heightened anxiety and tension across the country, today’s leaders are finding themselves and  their businesses thrust into a world no one knew was coming.

As leaders, people look up to us – for guidance, support, and calm when waters get rough. So, how are you meeting the challenge? Are your words and actions bringing a sense of unity? Or are they causing further divide? One thing I have learned over the last few months, is that although we are all very much “in this together”, we are very much in it alone at times as well – each person, each family has a different story to tell about how their lives have changed. And many are looking for direction on how to move forward. Although not every situation is the same, there remain some tried and true strategies leaders can take to keep their employees and businesses not only afloat but filled with a sense of hope and optimism. If you have not already, give a few of these a try:

Focus on Inspiring Others – Not Just Managing Performance

In short, managing performance right now is tough. Whether you are constrained through video conferencing and long for face-to-face interaction or if your people are simply exhausted from the weight of pandemic and struggling to keep up, patience with yourself and others is key. Everyone right now is looking for some level of comfort and inspiration to keep them going. As the leader, you are perfectly poised to be that voice. Listen, be genuine and stay positive. Need some inspiration yourself? Check out these inspiring podcasts.

Not a Surprise – Communication is Key

While inspiring your workforce is much needed, there can be a fine line between inspiring others and promising the moon. Another lesson that has been reinforced over the last few months is that things can (and will) change – and rapidly. Communicating clearly, honestly, and adaptively will build trust within your teams. Be forthright that things are changing. Showing we are ready and able to pivot when needed – all while keeping our chins up – will be the make or break of many organizations. As the leader, it is up to you to manage expectations and that all starts with clear and honest communication.

Maybe a Surprise – You Need to be Vulnerable

The words ‘leader’ and ‘vulnerable’ do not go in the same sentence, right? Afterall, throughout the years many of us got to where we are because of our thick-skin and were even cautioned against showing our vulnerability. Well, times have changed. And we know now that allowing yourself to be vulnerable – even in front of your direct reports – is a good, healthy thing. We are all vulnerable right now – our world has been flipped upside down overnight. The world we counted on is not quite the same and we all are asking ourselves “Is it just me…Am I the only one that doesn’t have it all together right now?”. When leaders open up to their teams, it shows they are human just like everyone else. It gives the sense that yes – we are all in this together, and we will make it through together. Vulnerability shows…I see you, I hear you, and I am with you.

You’ve heard it a million times – these are tough times, and more tough times most likely lay ahead as we continue the battle against COVID-19. However, with the right leadership at the helm, your organization can weather the storm and even flourish – building a sense of unity and common purpose we could only dream about until now.

Looking to strengthen your leadership ability? Head on over to our website to learn more about our Executive Coaching Services. If your organization could benefit from a new perspective during this challenging time, I encourage you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.

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How to Use People Strategy to Assess Your Organizational Health

Contrary to popular belief, people strategy is not synonymous with HR strategy. While HR strategy focuses on shaping culture through policy, people strategy puts the focus on the corporate ecosystem. It’s about creating an environment that empowers people to thrive while growing the bottom line accordingly.

A strong people strategy is strongly correlated to good organizational health. According to McKinsey, 80% of companies that make concrete strides to improve organizational health enjoy significant advantages over competitors.

If you trust that your people have been astutely deployed, you can trust them to provide crucial insights into the health of your business.

What Do We Mean by Organizational Health?

When I refer to organizational health, I’m talking about how well the arms of the organization work together. Employee engagement, retention, and culture are indicators of health, but they don’t define it. A healthy organization is united behind their leadership and able to translate vision into action. These organizations maintain a sharp focus on the organization’s goals, and are able to adapt to industry trends in order to get there. 

Healthy organizations consistently demonstrate excellent communication throughout all levels of leadership. They also embrace ongoing innovation as critical to longevity.

People Strategy as an Assessment Tool

If you’re already leveraging people strategy in your organization, chances are you already have the right people in the right roles. However, even with the right roles in place, the company may still be experiencing pitfalls like communication breakdown, siloing, resistance to change, or a lack of innovation. As the leader of your team, many of these concerns could be deliberately hidden from you.

The objective of assessing your organizational health is to uncover how to optimize it. This must be an empowering conversation through which line managers feel safe to confide in you about their department’s challenges—even if they don’t yet have a solution.

Use these simple questions as conversation starters to guide your assessment. Meet with direct reports prepared to listen, and encourage the open sharing of concerns and ideas.

Build your people strategy skills by downloading our free resource, Performance Management Innovation. This quick but powerful read provides insights on how feedback from your people may define the future of your business.

Question 1: What are the biggest concerns facing your department?

Keep this question open-ended. Your direct report may mention anything from concerns about their team, to issues around productivity, to larger worries about the future of products or the company as a whole.

Leave your ego at the door before engaging in this discussion. It should come as no surprise that honesty is a key feature of a healthy organization. Just like a healthy relationship, your team must find tactful ways to deal with difficult truths.

Whomever is answering this question will likely feel “put on the spot.” They may dance around serious problems to avoid consequences when what they desperately need is support. To gain their trust, remain encouraging and engage them for details and examples. As they let their guard down, the full picture will start to form—and hopefully, so will a path forward.

Question 2: How can we better leverage the talent in your department?

Sometimes, the value people bring to their roles isn’t contained within their job description. Perhaps you have a department whose team dynamic is exceptional. Or, you may have a certain person whose innovative ideas surpass their level of influence.

Leaders who work closely with their teams can identify these strengths, but without being asked, they may not see an opportunity to amplify their benefits.

Frame this conversation with the intent to build smarter processes, reward creative thinking, and inform your people strategy going forward.

Question 3: What is preventing your department from meeting its full potential right now?

Generally speaking, the people we put into leadership positions are not the complaining type. We seek leaders who bring us solutions, not problems. While this judgment frequently serves us well, there’s a risk of enculturating a “blind spot” in which leaders avoid talking about issues they cannot solve.

This question implies a willingness to correct company infrastructure that impedes progress for an area of the business. Perhaps the internal software the company relies on is chronically inefficient with certain tasks. Or, perhaps some leaders are having trouble working together.

Pinpointing the stumbling blocks within each department will allow you to course-correct your people strategy, mediate inter-departmental issues, and optimize business operations.

For people strategy to be effective, it requires the ongoing input of—you guessed it—your people. To take advantage of the people strategy tactics that have helped other New York firms grow, contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.

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Employee retention statistics human resources

Surprising Employee Retention Statistics That Will Make You Sit Up and Take Notice

This post was penned by Frank Faeth, East Tenth Group’s Senior Leadership Advisor and Executive Coach.

Employee retention is a “hot button” topic for many CEOs and C-Suite executives I speak to these days.

Whether it’s due to issues onboarding new team members effectively, neglecting to focus on developing the employee experience, or an inability to keep up with the changing demands of a new generational workforce; many leaders are scrambling to determine where and how they can improve employee retention in their organization. This, combined with the lowest unemployment rate in U.S. history (Fortune/Bloomberg May 4, 2018), has made the marketplace more competitive than ever.

I tell all of East Tenth Group’s clients: every organization is unique, and I firmly believe that customized business solutions are the key to employee retention success. After all: every organization has a unique workplace culture and expectations of its employees.

If you’re feeling lost with your employee retention issues, I suggest you Take.Action.Now and review these important employee retention statistics that I’ve seen to date. I expect they will provide some “food for thought” for any leader and CEO interested in improving these metrics:

Today’s Must-See Employee Retention Statistics

1. One Third (⅓) New Hires Quit After Six Months

A critical component to employee retention is to outline the milestones you expect your new hire to achieve, and to outline a plan to help them achieve those milestones.

Use this process to work collaboratively with your new hire to identify not only the milestones you’d like them to achieve, but to identify what they would like to accomplish. Not only does this process help alleviate feelings of being under-challenged or overwhelmed, but it also provides an opportunity for “buy in” from your new hire, making them more invested in your organization’s goals.

Research has shown that 60% of companies fail to set milestones for new hires, giving your organization a competitive advantage in terms of attracting and retaining top talent in your industry.

2. Referred Employees Have A 45% Retention Rate After Two Years

Another reason to focus on the employee experience and cultivating a positive workplace environment is that employees will refer new hires to their managers because they like where they work.

Not only are referred hires more likely to stay with the company, but they have a much lower exit rate within two years than employees who were sourced from a job board, 80% of whom leave after two years.

The reason for this discrepancy is likely twofold: not only is the referred hire working with a friend and colleague, but given that they were referred for the role it’s likely that they are a better cultural fit than someone sourced from a job board or recruiting agency.

Want to improve employee retention? Then don’t miss out on this must-have guide filled with insights, Ted Talks, stats, and reference info to help you manage through your retention issues today.

3. 73% of Organizations Revamp Their Onboarding To Improve Employee Retention

This indicates how commonplace onboarding issues have become in the modern business landscape. Effective onboarding ensures that a new hire is properly integrated into the organization and can increase employee retention.

Updating old onboarding procedures not only increases employee retention, but it also offers an opportunity to help your new hire correlate the work they do with the values of your organization.

4. Remote Workers Are 50% Less Likely To Quit

Employees who telecommute to work report being more satisfied with their jobs than those who commute into the office.

The reasons behind this statistic are obvious: workers who telecommute are working in a comfortable environment, and can often work uninterrupted and at their own pace compared to working in a structured office environment.

With 35% of Millennials reporting that they value schedule flexibility over pay, offering the option to telecommute presents a powerful opportunity for organizations to increase employee retention.

5. 33% Of Employees Knew If They Planned to Stay With A Company Within Their First Week

This statistic shows that your company’s first impression makes a significant difference in employee retention. It also highlights the importance of an effective onboarding process which helps the new hire feel “at home” within the organization, instead of expecting them to figure it out for themselves.

Research had found that the best-in-class companies don’t start onboarding when the new team member arrives on their first day. In fact, 35% of businesses begin the onboarding process before the new hire’s first day, which can alleviate feelings of being overwhelmed, and gives the new hire time to process, reflect, and ask questions.

Employee Retention: What You Can Do To Improve

While these statistics may not draw positive conclusions about the state of employee retention, they show us that companies who step up their onboarding game and focus on the employee experience will see a significant return on investment with each new hire.

After all, organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new hire retention than those without. This means if your organization can take these statistics to heart and reinvest in an effective onboarding program your business will see an increase in happy, productive, long-term hires.

Are your professional challenges contributing to low employee retention? Take our brief, complimentary assessment and find out.

Once you’re finished, I recommend East Tenth Group’s ebook Managing Others, part of our Balanced Leadership Framework™ to begin your development journey.

I invite you to contact myself and the East Tenth Group team to discover how we can assist your development journey, and would love to hear your feedback on this post, or via our Facebook, LinkedIn, or our Twitter profile.

Related Posts: 

Using “Design Thinking to Craft Workplaces That Engage Employees

Authenticity, Brand, and Talent: The Connection

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Increase Team Productivity Executive Coaching NYC

If Team Productivity Slips, Is It Your Fault? What to Do:

Increasing team productivity is one of the most important challenges faced by any leader. This is especially true for those us working in the knowledge economy, where employees report being distracted from their work every 10 and a half minutes, on average.

While 24% of these interruptions come from email, even more alarming statistic reveals that 44% of workplace distractions come from employees switching from one task to the other without finishing the first one. This lack of focus should be alarming for everyone reading this post, as distracted workers are less productive and contribute less to the organization’s bottom line.

I’ve worked with many leaders who ask: “what can my employees do to increase team productivity?” and my answer is always the same: “what can you do to increase team productivity?”

Instead of placing all of the blame and responsibility for a dip in productivity, I suggest CEOs and other C-Suite executives look inward and assess what they can do to create a company culture that helps, not hinders, team productivity.

Why Should Leaders Care About Increasing Team Productivity?

We already know that employees who are less productive contribute less to the company’s bottom line, but research has found that workers who are distracted at work will compensate for those distractions by working faster, leading to “more stress, higher frustration, time pressure, and effort.”

If you’re a leader invested in building workplaces that enhance the employee experience and increases team productivity, follow these steps:

Set a Company-Wide Max Quote for Meeting Time

If your organization isn’t already using a tool like Toggl to track how and where you and your teams spend your time, now is the time to start.

Once everyone in your organization is using one of these tools you’ll gain valuable insight into which tasks take up the most time, and the average length of each meeting. Research has shown that productivity in meetings drops off after 30 minutes, so use this as your guide to determine the optimal meeting length for your organization and insist that team members stick to this guide whenever possible in order to prioritize team productivity over meetings.

Elevate the Status of ‘Deep Work’

‘Deep Work’ refers to time when a team member is deeply engaged in solving a particular problem or working on a specific project or task. Unless we have time to sit with a problem and work uninterrupted we can’t reach a state of “flow” (also known as being “in the zone”) when problem-solving.

When time is needed to delve deep into a problem have the employee or team block that time out in the calendar and insist that other team members respect the time block and do not interrupt others while they are in a state of ‘Deep Work.’ This single step can play a pivotal role in increasing team productivity within your organization by providing employees with the time needed to invest their full attention to solving a problem.

Have Team Members List Their Most Important Daily Task

One of the challenges of managing teams is that the most pressing work is often ill-defined, which leads to a lack of productivity as team members shift their focus to less-important tasks.

Resolve this issue by having a short, 5-minute meeting every morning where each team member identifies the one thing they can accomplish that day that will contribute the most to the organization’s goals, or to meeting a specific goal or deadline.

Limit Email and Group Chats Before a Certain Time Each Day

We already know that of the biggest productivity-killers is continuously checking our email, but many offices use messaging tools like Slack to stay connected and chat throughout the day which can also have a negative impact on our productivity.

Mornings tend to the time when we’re our most focused and productive, so consider implementing a company-wide policy where team members don’t send or receive emails, or check their Slack, until a set time.

Encourage Asynchronous Communication

Modern workplace cultures have normalized the culture of immediate responses, but if we prioritize replying over problem-solving we’ll soon slip back into a state of low productivity.

If this style of immediate communication – sending and receiving emails or messages and expecting an instant response –  is the norm within your organization, I recommend insisting on asynchronous communication.

Asynchronous communication, which is sending a message without the expectation of an immediate response, can free up your team’s focus and mental energy in order to allow them to prioritize their work over responding.

Take the time to make this expectation clear to your team, as they may feel pressured to respond regardless. Let them know that responding within 24 hours (or whichever time frame is best suited for your organization) is not only acceptable, but expected.

Start Increasing Team Productivity Today

Technology has been a boon to many businesses, but resisting the urge to communicate constantly can have significant benefits for your productivity. Give your team members the time and space to focus on creative problem-solving you can eliminate many of the barriers associated with low productivity and watch team productivity increase.

Looking for actionable resources to further increase productivity in your organization? Download our complementary Insights Article Collaboration and Team Effectiveness.

The East Tenth Group and I would love to hear from you and assist you with leveraging your leadership potential. I invite you to contact us today or connect via Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

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Trust, Value, and Culture: The Engagement Trifecta

What is the secret to team member engagement? That is a question every organization is asking. Just search Google for engagement, and you’ll see from the 35 million results displayed that it’s a topic companies continue to wrestle with. From free coffee in the morning to nap pods in the afternoon, companies everywhere struggle to find the right answers. But despite these efforts to engage team members, imaginative fads only last so long. Perks, much like a child’s new toy, lose their thrill after only a short time.

Engagement Does Not Equal Happiness

There is an assumption that happy team members are engaged team members, but that is not always the case. Those team members we tend to perceive as happy are often ambivalent team members with neither positive or negative views about the companies for whom they work. These ambivalent team members are damaging to morale, stifle productivity, and decrease innovation. When 51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged, there is cause for concern.

If engagement is not measured by happiness, then how is it measured? Engagement results in better business outcomes, and those are easily measured by:

  • Retention rates
  • Customer outcomes
  • Profit

Does Your Culture Promote Engagement?

In his 2017 research report, Josh Bersin reveals that 86 % of business leaders rate culture as one of the more urgent talent issues, yet only 14 % understand what the “right” culture really is. What we do know is that it is essential to move beyond just talking about culture. For organizations to effectively compete for talent, they must be authentic, align culture and brand, and stop talking about culture without following through. You must have the elements of a successful corporate culture, in which:

People Matter. Your people must feel respected. Make sure they know how much value they offer your company. Honor them as people, not just assets. Belittling staff, creating an atmosphere of animosity, and increasing workplace stress have an enormous financial impact on businesses. According to HBR, incivility results in unhappy workers; so, be kind.

Talent Is Celebrated and People Are Empowered. Leaders who value the contributions of their teams, give credit to them for their successes, and are dedicated to developing their talent literally create more talent and innovation within their organizations.

Gratitude Is Evident. Show appreciation for a job well done. Simply saying thank you can make a big difference. Recent research has revealed that team members want respect and recognition more than they want more money. They want gratitude for their dedicated efforts. They want acknowledgement for a job well done. According to HR Zone, providing team member recognition leads to increased productivity, greater team member satisfaction, improved morale, and better teamwork.

Building High Engagement with a Culture of Trust

High engagement, defined as a strong connection with one’s work and colleagues, is only found in team members who derive meaning from daily activities. Those who find meaning in their work each day are those working for high-trust companies – and the cornerstone of a high-trust company is its workplace culture. Company culture is the root of team member engagement.

It is your workplace culture that inspires team member engagement, and trust is one element of workplace culture that can make the difference. Organizations across the world address workplace culture differently, but the same values of engaged team members are seen across the board, and trust is a top priority. There are obvious links between trust and performance, and even neuroscience has backed these claims:

“Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.”

In fact, building trust in the brain is a chemical reaction that can be fueled, but it also requires that leaders be held accountable. Culture holds everything together, and building a culture of engagement starts at the top. But why is trust so important? Without trust, the shortcomings of an organizational culture are obvious. Excellent leaders understand the benefits of incorporating trust into the workplace culture and how it can promote team member engagement. The following are known to be successful strategies:

  • Discretion – Are your team members able to make decisions in the moment? Give team members the freedom to do their jobs, and trust that they will do them well. Autonomy in their positions leads to valuable innovation.
  • Job Crafting – What are your team members passionate about? Let team members choose projects that are relevant to their interests. You’ll get better results, as well as team members who find value in daily activities.
  • Relationship Building – Engaged team members care about their colleagues. They are invested in their companies as well as the lives of those they work with, creating a committed workforce.
  • Information Sharing – Open lines of communication are one of the best tools an organization can use. There are well-defined standards and a clear path of which they are a part.
  • Vulnerability – Trust must move in every direction. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign that you value the input of your team members and recognize when you aren’t the expert.

To build a high-trust culture that leads to high engagement, leaders must consider the following:

  • Are you setting the right example? If you want your leaders to live and breathe your organizational culture, you need to set the example and be the leader you want them to be. Treat people well, encourage their participation and engagement, and regularly share the company story.
  • Are you providing constructive feedback regularly? Do you give positive and corrective feedback? Do you know what your team members want and provide development opportunities that help them get there?
  • Are your values more than a billboard? You can’t just put up motivational artwork on the walls and call it good. You need to live your values and encourage everyone in the company to do the same. Are people practicing your company values in everything that they do? Your culture should resonate in the way you hold meetings, treat each other, treat customers, and hire people.

People want an authentic corporate culture. A culture of engagement starts at the top, by establishing connections between personal and organization values. Without the right workplace culture, no perk can effectively engage your workforce. High engagement, then, is not a secret. It’s established through the hard work that comes from addressing workplace culture as an urgent issue that deserves attention. This is central to keeping a competitive edge.

When your team members can trust that you value them and the work they do, you promote a clear sense of purpose. At East Tenth Group, one of the aspects of leadership we work to improve with our clients is practicing an authentic, open, and kind approach to the people they lead. We encourage leaders to see the whole person. When you demonstrate to your people that they are valued, team members won’t want to be anywhere else.

As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

Learn More About Michelle

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Next-Generation Performance Management Tools

By 2030, 75 percent of the workforce will be millennials. And those employees want ongoing, immediate feedback; for that matter, so do most of your team members from other generations. Ongoing, immediate feedback improves individual and team performance, overall job satisfaction, productivity, innovation, and efficiency. Regular feedback will also enhance communication among team members and managers, increase trust, and encourage better team collaboration.

Yes, it takes strong technology – better communication and tracking tools – to transform performance management, but the more important transformation is a culture shift away from the annual review and towards: Next-generation performance management tools are a combination of communication, tracking, and analytics technologies that put the ability to provide immediate feedback at the fingertips of managers.

[Tweet “Immediate feedback improves performance, satisfaction, productivity, innovation, and efficiency.”]

Team members respond positively because they see a clear path forward to more responsibility and leadership opportunities. These tools also provide easily accessible data that makes it possible for managers, executives, and HR coordinators to make rapid, informed decisions about talent that aligns with their strategy:

  • Ongoing collaboration
  • Immediate feedback
  • Aligned goal setting
  • Motivational inspiration
  • Customized development

[Performance management] is the most powerful performance-driving process in your company. Setting big goals and delivering regular feedback improves individual performance – full stop.Marc Effron, President, The Talent Strategy Group

[Tweet “Next-generation performance management tools put immediate feedback at the fingertips of managers.”]

We already know that the annual performance review is no longer effective for improving retention and creating engaged team members. Next-generation performance management tools provide organizations with a more effective way to keep talented team members engaged and involved. It also allows business leaders to better match talent to business goals, assess gaps in development and talent need, and cultivate talent that aligns with the overall strategy of the organization. Take.Action.Now. by investing in performance management and communication tools that foster immediate feedback.

As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

Learn More About Michelle

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Get Off the Feedback Merry-Go-Round

We have not blazed any trails in our campaign to improve performance reviews over the past 25 years that I have been in the field. In our efforts to rework the performance review process, we have added ratings, removed ratings, included goals, removed goals, added self-assessment, removed self-assessment, added competencies, inserted multi-rater input – the list goes on. We have even debated whether or not performance reviews should be linked to compensation. But we truly have not come up with the magic formula for evaluating employees and giving feedback.

[Tweet “When it comes to #performancereviews, one size does not fit all. #feedback”]

When it comes to giving feedback, it’s time to get off the merry-go-round. We can’t keep doing it the same tired way, and we can’t simply skip providing feedback; shareholders won’t stand for it. As we keep trying to solve this issue, it has occurred to me that we are going about it all wrong. Unlike the finance and accounting functions that has FASB or Sarbanes to provide standardized procedures and policies for how things are done, we do not have that in HR.  It’s impossible to apply a policy across the board that covers every scenario in every company. At a recent conference with 18 of my esteemed colleagues – all CHROs of known public and private, global companies – we had a two-hour discussion on this topic.

When It Comes to Performance Reviews and Feedback, One Size Does Not Fit All

  • Be open and flexible in considering what will work best in your company.
  • Be bold and try something different.
  • Be open to hearing from all parts of the organization through focus groups.

Do not rest on your laurels and accept performance management the way it is – or think because it was this way in one company and must be this way in another company. In the people business, customization is the name of the game.

[Tweet “In the people business, customization is the name of the game. #feedback #performancereviews”]

Read more about the feedback merry-go-round.

As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

Learn More About Michelle

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Winning the Leadership Game

I love the game of tennis. I have played it off and on since I was a young girl and have profited from both private and group lessons along the way. Each of these learning styles has merit. And whether you are developing your serve or developing your leaders, there comes a point where one-on-one leadership development is necessary.

Winning the Game

If you really want to get the best out of your people and have a pipeline of talent at your disposal, your leadership development efforts should reflect that priority. Your leadership development program should:

  1. Begin at the entry level. Don’t wait to start your efforts. Develop managers early on in their careers so you have a pipeline of well-developed leaders.
  2. Cultivate unique skills. Each individual has something special that can be leveraged. By developing leaders one-on-one, you are positioned well to cultivate their unique skills for your organization.
  3. Focus the efforts to deliver business results. Align your content with your business strategy. Ensuring the successful outcome of the development work will lead to tangible business results that give credibility to the investment.

[Tweet “Leadership development is a one-on-one, customized opportunity to develop talent.”]

We want your new leaders to win the leadership game, 40-love. At East Tenth Group, we believe leadership development should be a one-on-one, customized opportunity to develop and build on the existing talents of the individual, with ongoing support for continued development over the long term.

[Tweet “When developing leaders, one-on-one #leadershipdevelopment is necessary.”]

This is an excerpt from Michelle’s article on LinkedIn. Read How’s Your Leadership Game? 40-Love?

As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

Learn More About Michelle

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Human Resources Feedback

Why You Should Give Feedback.

“Accepting feedback and constructive criticism is critical for employees and managers, even one as accomplished as Kroger’s chairman, who stepped down as CEO on Jan. 1.” says, Josh Pichler who recently interviewed Dave Dillon.  Dillon preaches the importance of feedback to anybody who asks.

“Most bosses are supposed to give you some feedback, but they often are uncomfortable in doing it. If you ask them for the feedback, the invitation makes it easier,” he said.  “It’s my single most important piece of management and personal advice. Feedback’s a gift.” 

[Tweet “”Feedback’s a gift”. Dave Dillon, CEO Kroger”]

Why Don’t Managers Give Feedback?

Then why is it so many managers don’t want to give feedback?  As a former HR executive and now strategic leadership advisor and coach, so many of my clients struggle with giving feedback (and yes, at times, receiving it).  Somehow they feel the team member will be slighted, feelings hurt, maybe the manager won’t be liked, and on and on.  The truth is you are doing everyone a disservice by not giving feedback.

Think back when you were young – imagine if your parents didn’t tell you when not to run across the street, or not to touch a hot stove, put the wrong thing in your mouth.  All of this was feedback.  We thought nothing of it back then when we got it – we listened and followed it.  Lest we get hit by a car or burnt our hands.  And if you are a parent, aunt, uncle, I’m sure you are telling kids these same things.  It is really no different in the work place.  We crave being re-directed.  What’s working, what’s not working.  Yes, give them feedback.  Hit it head-on.

Feedback Formula

The next time you sit down with someone who works for you, tell him or her 3 things they are doing well, and 3 things they could do better.  That’s it – it is that simple.  I call it the feedback formula.  Make this a habit, do it often.  It will build upon itself.  And you know what, you’ll have happier and better employees.  The result?  Well, better results.  Remember, as Dave Dillon says, feedback is a gift.  [Tweet “We all got feedback when we were young, and we deserve to get it now.”]

Want more leadership news, insight and perspective?  Sign-up for East Tenth Group’s monthly roundup of key leadership approaches here.

As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

Learn More About Michelle

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Performance Warnings – What Should You Do?

I got a call from a senior leader who had joined a large global company a few months ago.  We’ll call her Sue.  Sue has a very accomplished background, through a variety of industries, and is an expert in her field with over 25 years experience.  Sue is at the Director level.  She was given a verbal performance warning.  What?!!?  That’s right.  Sue is part of larger team and she seems to think she isn’t cc’ing her boss on all of her communications.  That is the reason for the warning, and she can’t accept feedback.  There is no doubt there must be more to the story.  According to Sue her boss is a bully.  Abusive, moody, a micro-manager, and most of the team complain about her.

So what is really going on?  There could be a myriad of things at play.  But as my colleague George Bradt of Primegenesis outlines in his onboarding work, getting hired is about strengths, fit and motivation.  My sense is there is a fit issue from both sides.  Sue has been working in boutique professional service firms for a long time, which is almost like being on your own.  She is now working for this very large global company.  It isn’t easy making a transition like this, no matter how talented you are.  For the company’s part, I believe they overlook the fit part of the equation all too often.  If the skill set is there, the fit piece is swept under the carpet, or worse, the thinking is “it’s not perfect, but it will work.” Wrong.

3 Steps to Take

With a performance warning verbally given, what should Sue do since she claims she is completely caught off guard, and doesn’t understand what the warning is about?

Step 1.  She should ask her manager to clarify the conditions of the verbal warning.  What are the 2 or 3 performance issues, whether behavior or task-oriented that are not meeting expectations and how can she meet expectations?

Step 2.  Then, ensure she understands in what period of time this needs to happen.  Also, what does meeting expectations in these areas now defined look like?  Could her manager provide some concrete examples that demonstrate what the gap is between what Sue is currently doing and what she should be doing?  And, what happens next, in what period of time, if the expectations aren’t being met?

Step 3.  Finally, put on the table the question of fit.  Sue needs to have this addressed and hopefully get it answered.  Because if it’s a fit issue, well, there is no remedy.  Then it is a conversation about mutually parting ways in the best way possible.

Too many times I have been privy to managers giving verbal performance warnings without any clear expectations being set.  In addition, many times managers do not offer their support to the employee in helping them along in the improvement plan.  There are plenty of managers who get it right and do all of this.  In Sue’s case, something is amiss.  And when something is not clear, the employee has the right to:

  • Gain clarity
  • Understand if their employment is in jeopardy,
  • Understand what they can do to improve their performance specifically, and
  • Know how their manager is going to support them.

[Tweet “Improve your performance by understanding your manager’s expectations specifically.”]

Not Meeting Expectations?

Next time your manager tells you your performance isn’t meeting expectations, make sure you clearly understand why and know exactly how to improve it.

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As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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