After months of searching for just the right executive I am delighted that Brad Smith recently joined our team as Director, Business Development. Brad has nearly twenty years of experience as a trusted advisor in organizational effectiveness, leadership/culture development, learning, career and talent management, consulting, Human Resources, and performance improvement to hundreds of organizations in the public and private sectors. Throughout his career, Brad has helped organizations boost their effectiveness by aligning with the customers/stakeholders they serve, developing effective organizational strategies, and attracting, retaining, and growing top talent to bring about critical change.
In his new role Brad will match The CLEMMER Group’s range of leadership, team, and organization development programs and services with Client needs. This includes leadership and organization assessment, strengths-based leadership development, service/quality improvement, culture change/development, leading change, strategic planning, team building, lean/six sigma, health and safety, and coaching skills development.
Sometimes, to his wife’s chagrin (she’s come to grips with the inevitable) Brad’s outgoing personality and love of people draws him to lead the neighborhood — or just about any — social committee! He also loves to be challenged on anything to do with sports, music, or movie trivia! Brad would love to connect through his LinkedIn profile, e-mail at Brad.Smith@clemmergroup.com, or phone at (519) 391-1073.
If you’re in Southern Ontario — or visiting Toronto the first week of April — you can meet Brad and sit in on my complimentary (no charge) executive briefing on Vital Steps for Leadership and Coaching Skills Development. During the morning session on April 3 I’ll provide an overview of the strengths-based leadership development research and approaches behind The Extraordinary Leader Development System. I’ll also discuss Six Steps to Building a Coaching Culture with Exceptional Leaders that’s found in The Extraordinary Coach. Click here for more briefing information and to register.
We’ve just set the dates for our spring series of public workshops for The Extraordinary Leader and The Extraordinary Coach. On May 5 and 6 I’ll be delivering the sessions in Richmond, BC hosted by the City of Richmond. On May 8 and 9 I’ll facilitate the workshops in Edmonton, AB hosted by Servus Credit Union. And on May 14 and 15 I’ll be in Mississauga (10 minutes from Toronto’s international airport) at the Centre for Health & Safety Innovation. Click here for more information and to register.
There’s lots on the grow! I hope to see you soon.
A reader sent me this e-mail:
“Your recent blog, “A Dose of Reality: Our World is Dramatically Better“, is excellent. Your information supports what I had already believed but did not have data to support.
As I was reading your blog, I happened to have on my desk a copy of the book “The Trouble with Billionaires” by Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks. They have a very contrary opinion, believing that things are getting worse and the large number of billionaires is contributing, if not causing a worsening of the situation for the poor. They provide references for almost all of their claims. I looked further into some of their statistics and info and found some classic misrepresentation of info.
We do focus way too much on what’s wrong and not on all that’s right with our world. If only we could forget our troubles as half as easily as we overlook our blessings!
Of course, stats are often manipulated, overblown, or overlooked to prove our case. I am not familiar with this book. It sounds like a classic case of putting on pessimistic glasses. When I was working on my last book, Growing @ the Speed of Change, I wrote this blog item with that citation; “Range of Reality: Choosing the Best or The Worst of Times“. It sure sounds like McQuaig and Brooks have chosen to wear dark and pessimistic glasses.
Tomorrow we publish my February blogs in the March issue of The Leader Letter. Last week’s blog posts reviewing and excerpting One Simple Idea by Mitch Horowitz chronicles one of the most radical ideas of the last few centuries; our thoughts shape our world. The glasses we choose to wear tints our reality.
Another key choice that shapes reality is whether to focus on building strengths or fixing weaknesses. Feedback and coaching helps make those vital decisions. The March issue has links to three archived webinars and links to related columns and articles on these topics.
As an optimist, and not an optometrist, I hope my blogs help you to check your vision!
“For all its shortcomings, positive thinking has stood up with surprising muscularity in the present era of placebo studies, mind-body therapies, brain-biology research, and, most controversial, the findings of quantum physics experiments … may challenge how we come to view ourselves in the twenty-first century, at least as much as Darwinism challenged man’s self-perception in the Victorian age.”
“I raked up certain old griefs out of the ashes of the past, borrowed some new troubles out of the future and put them all under the powerful microscope of a morbid imagination, which magnifies the awful about a thousand times, and diminishes the cheerful.”
- quoting Prentice Mulford an 1880s author who began the modern positive thinking movement’s transition to a philosophy of personal success
“The mind is a magnet. It has the power, first of attracting thought, and next of sending that thought out again … What kind of thought you most charge that magnet (your mind) with, or set it open to receive, it will attract most of that kind to you.”
- Prentice Mulford’s 1886 Law of Success
“Within the parameters of physical possibilities, you receive what you ‘want with your whole soul’ — whether inner truth, a personal accomplishment, relationships, whatever it is. Excluding some great countervailing force, and for either ill or good, the one thing that you want above all else is what you get.”
“The wish to authentically search for the self and its true aims is, perhaps, the greatest form of mental affirmation to which a person can aspire, and the one that brings the most help.”
“Some medical authorities might privately nod in sympathy with the defense of Mesmer by Charles d’Eslon, the late-eighteenth-century Paris physician: ‘It may indeed be entirely imagination. And if it is? Then imagination is a force as potent as it is little understood. Let us work with this mysterious imagination, let us use it to cure, let us learn more about it.’”
“The time has come for science to confront serious implications of the fact that directed, willed mental activity can clearly and systematically alter brain function; that the exertion of willful effort generates a physical force that has the power to change how the brain works and even its physical structure.”
- Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D, UCLA and author of The Mind and the Brain
I couldn’t put down this deeply researched, well-written, and fascinating book. His one simple idea is “thoughts are causative.” Starting in the 1830s, Horowitz weaves together an entertaining and insightful history of “the most radical idea of our times.”
As a long time student of self-help and personal growth literature and approaches I had many “ahas” as I read One Simple Idea. Understanding the origins of “the law of attraction,” visualization, affirmations, the placebo effect, 12 step recovery movements, self-hypnosis, breaking or forming habits, prosperity consciousness, “follow your bliss,” spiritual enlightenment, and mind-body healing brought a whole new appreciation and understanding.
Horowitz traces the foundation for these approaches to the radical New Thought movement of the late 1800s. The term originated with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s lecture “Success” published in 1870, “to redeem defeat by new thought.” In 1899 “New Thought Conventions” were held in Hartford, CT and Boston. Horowitz explains “the term New Thought encompassed the mind-power culture’s highest aims: The ascension of man through his thoughts.”
Horowitz identifies and defines “four primary schools of positive thinking:”
1. The Magical Thinking or Divine Thought School
2. The Conditioning or Reprogramming School
3. The Conversion School
4. The Meaning-Based School
I agree with Horowitz that positive thinking is both the most influential and the most maligned philosophy in North America. It’s been satirized with skits on Saturday Night Live and often dismissed as glossing over real world problems with Pollyanna bromides and inspirational fridge-magnet quotations.
In the book’s last chapter “Does it Work,” Horowitz dips into a tiny sample of the scientific evidence for the power of thoughts to shape our world from research in quantum physics and medicine. And he rightly points to the serious philosophical shortcoming of positive thinking approaches like “the law of attraction” as THE universal law claiming that we alone create all that happens to us. There’s growing proof that the mind does have a huge impact on the reality of our lives. But it’s one of many forces in the universe.
My biggest disappointment with One Simple Idea was not including the deep science emerging from cognitive and Positive Psychology. In the past 30 years this rapidly growing field has put together a large and growing body of evidence and proven methodologies around using our thoughts to reshape our world.
Go to www.mitchhorowitz.com and watch his five minute “book trailer” video “One Simple Idea: A Short History of Positive Thinking.” His Huffington Post blog on “The 7 Biggest Myths of Positive Thinking” is also worth a read. You can read my writing on the topic of “Attitude and Outlook” at blog posts and my book excerpts/articles.
Zenger Folkman has just been given the 2014 Top 20 Leadership Training Companies Award from TrainingIndustry.com.
Selection for this year’s Top 20 Leadership Training Companies was based on the following criteria:
Click here to read more about the award and why Zenger Folkman was included in this small and select group. This award publicly recognizes what we’ve been seeing for the past 18 months of our strategic partnership with Zenger Folkman. We continue to be delighted to work with such a leading edge, research-based, and results-driven company.
Since purchasing the excellence series of newsletters, HR.com has been dramatically expanding the publications to cover a wide range of HR-related issues. You can see the full range of existing and newly launched e-newsletters at http://www.hr.com/en/magazines. There’s no charge for any of the publications.
The February issue of Leadership Excellence Essentials is now available at http://www.hr.com/en/magazines/leadership_excellence_essentials. The cover feature is on the appointment of Mary Barra as CEO of GM. Moving from HR to CEO of a major company like GM is rare. The story focuses on how strategic thinking and culture development were key to this promotion. Some other articles in this issue focus on learning agility, agile organizations, why many change methodologies often fail, the art of mentoring, and building a culture of accountability.
My white paper, Leadership Competency Models: Why Many Are Failing and How to Make Them Flourish, has also been condensed in this issue. We continue to encounter many organizations having problems using this leadership development approach. Like many powerful tools, the success of using a leadership competency model depends on how it’s used.
The Sochi Olympics show the colossal impact of key individuals on team success or a country’s medal count. Popular entertainers or professional athletes are glaring examples of the outsize impact that key individuals have on the success of a movie or sports franchise.
Organizational success often hinges on oversized contributions from pivotal players like software developers, engineers, geologists, salespeople, physicians, marketers, designers, product developers, technicians, professors, and other specialists. Too often these key contributors are not included in leadership development efforts. Yet their contribution soars or sinks on their ability to focus on results, lead change, their interpersonal skills, or personal capabilities.
In today’s hyper changing world, leadership needs to be seen as actions or behaviors, not positions or roles. We need everyone to act like leaders. We especially need our key individual contributors to become extraordinary leaders.
In Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman’s latest Harvard Business Review blog, Develop the Leaders You’ve Been Overlooking, they expand on these key reasons for investing in this vital group:
So is the process for developing individual contributors different from developing people in management roles? Chapter Eleven of How to Be Exceptional: Drive Leadership Success by Magnifying Your Strengths, outlines Zenger Folkman’s research showing the short answer is no. You can read more about this in a white paper excerpted from the book, “Individual Contributors: Building on Strengths is the Foundation of Success at Every Level :” The approach involves:
Download the paper to see the 16 competencies that best differentiate the most effective from the least effective contributors.
I’ll give an overview of these competencies and development approach during our complimentary February 27 webcast “Building Leadership Skills and a Coaching Culture.” Go to Coming Events to learn about the webcast and other upcoming webinars, briefings, and public workshops.
We are often asked, “What is the one thing a person ought to do to be a better leader and have a more successful career?”
While it is difficult to narrow down the list to just one thing, there is one that seems to surface over and over again in Zenger Folkman’s research. That one thing is having the ability to ask for and respond to feedback from others. When we look at 360 survey data we can see an absolute correlation between the ability to ask for feedback and the overall effectiveness of leaders.
In a new study ZF has been conducting, we have also discovered that employees want feedback. Positive feedback is welcome — but they also want the negative or corrective feedback most leaders are hesitant to give. Employees want it, leaders hate to give it.
Next Thursday (February 20) you’re invited to join Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman as they explore this fascinating topic. They’ll share new research about both asking for, and giving feedback, and you will learn how to get better at doing both!
Unequivocally, the ability to GIVE feedback and the ability to RECEIVE feedback are essential to being an effective leader today.
How Good Are You at Getting and Giving Feedback? Knowing that it’s important to give and receive feedback is one thing. Knowing whether you do it well is another. Webinar attendees will receive access to our complimentary Feedback Self-Assessment.
Webinar registration: Feedback—You Need It, Your Employees Want It!
Wednesday, February 20, 1:00 PM ET
Presented by Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman with LIVE Q&A
Having someone fix our turned up collar or point out we have a piece of spinach in our teeth before a big presentation can be very helpful. The tone and intention of this feedback makes us feel supported and thankful or belittled and resentful.
Giving difficult feedback is a critical coaching skill. As reported in “Here’s the Feedback on Giving and Getting Feedback” our survey showed that many people avoid giving negative feedback. Our study also showed that most people want to get negative feedback. BUT 92% of respondents reported that how corrective or redirecting feedback is delivered determined whether it was seen as helpful or hurtful.
Continuing this discussion, Jack Zenger’s latest Forbes column, “Just Tell Me! 5 Strategies for Giving Difficult Feedback“, provides practical approaches for each of these 5 steps:
1. Immediately play the background music
2. Make and follow a plan
3. Don’t tackle multiple topics in one discussion
4. Rehearse any serious discussion
5. Treat the receiver with an extra measure of respect
Skill building in guiding coaching conversations and giving difficult feedback is a key focus of Zenger Folkman’s March 12 and 13 Coaching Symposium in Orlando, Florida. See You’re Invited to Join Our Rare Coaching Symposium for more information and links to register.
Jack Zenger’s January webinar on Coaching Matters! is now available for viewing. In this 40 minute presentation Jack overviews the key research underlying ZF’s development of The Extraordinary Coach and surveys the webinar audience on their current coaching practices. Click here to view the webinar.
On February 27 I’ll deliver a complimentary webcast on 6 keys to building a coaching culture with exceptional leaders along with 5 keys to strengths-based leadership development. Click on Building Leadership Skills and a Coaching Culture for more information and to register.
The morning of April 3 I’ll expand both these topic areas with a complimentary executive briefing in Mississauga. Click Vital Steps for Leadership and Coaching Skills Development for more information and to register.
Would you like to move beyond building individual leaders to building a culture of exceptional leadership and coaching in your organization? Are you concerned about succession planning, deepening leadership bench strength, cultivating teamwork, recruiting top talent, increasing retention and engagement, improving customer service, safety and wellness, and increasing sales and profits?
These critical issues are keeping many senior leaders, learning and development professionals, HR executives and organization development/effectiveness professionals up at night. But there’s a confusing and contradictory array of programs and approaches promising solutions to these vital challenges.
On February 27 I am delivering a 60 minute complimentary (no charge) webinar on Building Leadership Skills and a Coaching Culture. I’ll be summarizing Zenger Folkman’s research on 5 keys to using a highly proven strengths-based leadership approach. I’ll also overview an evidence-based approach to 6 keys to building a coaching culture with exceptional leaders. As you’ve been reading in my blogs, Zenger Folkman’s deep research cuts through the dizzying clamor of leadership and coaching development claims, models, and approaches to what really works.
Join us to hear:
• Why traditional assessments, performance management, and training needs analysis that look for gaps and “improvement areas” don’t work.
• How a scientific approach to strengths-based leadership development is 2 – 3 times more effective.
• Why many 360 feedback assessments are negative experiences that foster feedback phobia and reduce motivation for leadership skill development.
• Keys to building a positive can-do culture.
• The research on cross-training that provides new methodologies for building leadership strengths.
• The huge impact of coaching on engagement, extra effort, turnover, customer service, productivity, and organizational results.
• Common coaching traps that have created a vast coaching skills gap.
• A 4 step coaching framework to guide productive coaching conversations.
You can bring your team together to tune into the webinar. Click here for more information and to register. I hope to see you online!
Fixing weaknesses is so deeply ingrained in our practices and beliefs. When coaching or having performance discussions with a team member, most leaders will quickly gloss over strengths to address “improvement areas.”
After reading How to Be Exceptional: Drive Leadership Success by Magnifying Your Strengths, Janet Pierce, Vice President of Education for Certified General Accountants of Ontario, sent me this e-mail:
“Thank you so much for sharing this book with me. I came down with the flu after Christmas so I curled up on the couch with my dog and read this book over two days. It resonated with me like few books do — namely the current practice of focusing excessively on ‘fixing’ people’s weaknesses.
I recall at a recent company I worked for, my 360 feedback had results in 5 main performance/skill domains ranging from 4.0 to 4.8 out of 5 (all in the top decile). My lowest score of 4.0 was listening skills. Now 4 is not a bad score, but this is where I spent most of my discussion time with my CEO. As part of my development activities for the upcoming year I had to take a training course in listening skills.
That time could have been better spent using my creative skills on building something new for the organization that would have had a much higher ROI. Invariably I did the latter anyway (because I don’t listen well… :) ).”
Unfortunately, Janet’s experience is far too common. It’s one of the biggest reasons most 360 feedback assessments and performance management systems aren’t effective. They’re focused on weaknesses. Unless there’s a serious deficiency that needs to be addressed, weakness-based improvement plans are demotivating and wasteful.
Tomorrow we publish my January blog posts in the February issue of The Leader Letter. It features research on how we’re hard-wired to overlook positives or strengths and zero in on negatives and weaknesses. Yet the science of happiness and leadership development shows much higher happiness and leadership effectiveness comes from rewiring our brains to accentuate the positive and build strengths.
Reversing years of conditioning isn’t easy. But the pay-offs are huge. And we now have proven methodologies showing how to do it.
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