Issue 154 - January 2016
The Leader Letter
One reason organizational change efforts have failure rates as high as 70% is because too many newly appointed leaders take over a team or organization with overpowering messages of revolutionary change. Often the new leader implies that everything the team or organization did before they arrived on his or her white horse to save this day was wrong.
This is guaranteed to raise resistance and trigger the organizational immune system to reject this transplant. A much more effective approach honors and builds on strengths, values, and successes while blending new approaches, mindsets, and behaviors. Unless there's a widely acknowledged and obvious crisis, evolutionary change is often much more effective.
The dawn of a new year is an excellent time to review, refocus, and renew our approaches. This is best approached by blending our strengths, core values, and useful traditions with changes that feed our ongoing growth and continuous improvement.
As The CLEMMER Group continues our evolutionary journey we've been applying this approach to our programs and services. As I wrote in "New Keynotes and Workshops to Motivate, Energize, and Inspire Leaders", last summer we reviewed and revised our Custom Keynotes & Workshops and Leadership Team Retreats.
This evolutionary exercise has led to our complimentary January 26, 2016 webinar on Essential Building Blocks for Leadership, Coaching, and Culture Development. As outlined in the first item in this issue, the webinar builds on and evolves our three core areas; frameworks for moving from inspiration to application, elevating leadership and coaching strengths, and strengthening people and processes for culture and organization development. A 12 point checklist also evolved from this work to help you assess your current team, coaching, and culture development.
May you find other material in this issue to blend your personal, team, and organizational strengths with the changes you need to keep you moving forward throughout 2016!
Why does study after study continue to show that 70% of leadership, culture, change, and other improvement efforts fail?
There are many factors contributing to this persistently low success rate. The biggest element is leadership and organization culture. These two intertwined factors continually show up as the critical X factors. "Soft" leadership and culture boosts or blocks strategy, structure, and change initiatives.
We're now working on a webinar that pulls together and summarizes our decades of research and Client experiences on this critical issue. The big challenge is how to condense and share our key learning in 60 minutes.
This checklist has emerged from this work:
The more key factors you can check off, the higher the likelihood that your leadership, coaching, or culture development efforts will be successful. Pass the checklist around to your team for their input. For even higher honesty, you could make it anonymous through a tool like SurveyMonkey.
Click on Essential Building Blocks for Leadership, Coaching, and Culture Development webinar for more information and to register.
As organizations thin their ranks to run leaner, the need for building highly effective leaders becomes a strategic imperative. Stronger leaders create stronger organizations. This creates even stronger leaders across the organization in an upward spiraling circle toward peak performance.
Registrations for my facilitation of the January 27 public workshop of The Extraordinary Leader in Toronto are bringing us close to a full session. We have a few more seats left. As discussed in our recent webinar on "How Wilfrid Laurier University is Strengthening Leadership Skills and Culture," The Extraordinary Leader is customized and delivered internally. We rarely run public workshops and often they're sold out.
Too often leadership workshops are inspiring but quickly forgotten. I love delivering this workshop because of its powerful and lasting impact on participant effectiveness. Everyone leaves with a personalized, action-oriented, development plan that facilitates goal setting and follow through. Leaders continue developing and strengthening leadership skills, and apply leadership development in daily, on-the-job activities.
Click on Extraordinary Leader and Extraordinary Coach public workshops for more information on this process as well as its powerful companion, The Extraordinary Coach.
"Research on the Dramatic Impact of Extraordinary Coaching Skills" shows that leaders who are the most effective at coaching have three times more employees that "go the extra mile." When leaders add coaching to their existing strengths they are ten times more likely to become a top-tier leader.
But as Aristotle observed "with regard to excellence, it is not enough to know but we must try to have and use it." This same advice applies to coaching skills. Today there's lots of "coaching speak" but little real coaching skills development.
Leaders often fall into these common coaching traps:
It's very easy to slip into these traps without realizing it. Which ones ensnare you? How about your organization's supervisors and managers? What's your coaching culture?
Organizational surveys show that most managers believe they are providing coaching to employees and score themselves high. However, most employees state they receive little coaching from their leaders and score their leaders low.
I am delivering The Extraordinary Coach Workshop in a public or open session (most are run internally) on January 28, 2016 in Mississauga, Ontario (15 minutes south of Toronto's airport). Click here for a two minute video overview of this session.
Cornerstone OnDemand analyzed their dataset of 63,000 employees spanning 250,000 observations and concluded:
This research underscores the critical need for leaders to provide feedback and coaching to employees at the first signs of potentially toxic behavior. Unfortunately, we've found that a majority of leaders avoid giving corrective feedback. Yet almost every employee wants more feedback.
Here are a few tips for giving corrective feedback:
Here is a recap of our most popular resources over the past year. I hope you'll have a little extra time over the holidays to catch up on any that you missed, or review any you found especially helpful:
Just one form for all of our resources. With our site-wide registration, you can register once (free, of course), and have full access to all of the resources on the site, as well as any of the new resources we are constantly adding. You can register here.
Mass shootings, ISIS, the Charlie Hebdo attacks, November Paris massacre, climate change, economic upheaval, infectious diseases, Syrian refuges, crashing airplanes, hurricanes, corporate greed and deception, Donald Trump ... 2015 news headlines were full of disaster and despair. One national newscaster reflecting on the year solemnly declared 2015 the "year of darkness."
But that's mass media sucking us into the dark side of life. As Nicholas Kristof writes in The New York Times, "we journalists are a bit like vultures, feasting on war, scandal and disaster. Turn on the news, and you see Syrian refugees, Volkswagen corruption, and dysfunctional government. Yet that reflects a selection bias in how we report the news: We cover planes that crash, not planes that take off. Indeed, maybe the most important thing happening in the world today is something that we almost never cover: a stunning decline in poverty, illiteracy and disease."
Here's a partial list of what an incredibly better world we're building:
To paraphrase the super popular Star Wars movies, we need to see and use the force of optimism and positivity to counterbalance the dark side. When I was writing my book, Growing @ the Speed of Change: Your Inspir-actional How-To Guide for Leading Yourself and Others through Constant Change I posted an excerpt on Range of Reality: Choosing the Best or the Worst of Times. Creating the reality of the world we live in every day is a choice
What's your reality? Which force do you draw from most each day? These are vital questions for our health, happiness, success, and well-being. And for the energy we ripple back into the world around us.
Many organizations are making major investments in external branding. But often less attention or investment is made in improving the organization's internal effectiveness.
If frontline staff isn't living the brand, customers' raised expectations are dashed and their anger and cynicism grows. One of the biggest reasons frontline staff can't live the brand is because operational, service, order fulfillment, and other processes aren't aligned.
When I suggested to one group during a leadership team retreat that they need to map out their badly flawed order fulfillment process, they told me that had already been done. I asked who facilitated the project. We all managed to keep a straight face when they replied that the software vendor had helped them. And -- coincidentally -- the vendor had just the technical solution to "help" them! It was a disaster and brought the company to its financial knees.
This section summarizes last month's LinkedIn Updates and Twitter Tweets about online articles or blog posts that I've flagged as worth reading. These are usually posted on weekends when I am doing much of my reading for research, learning, or leisure.
My original tweet commenting on the article follows each title and descriptor from the original source:
A short video showing surprisingly that people prefer to get corrective feedback much more than positive -- if managers do this one thing.
This research shows powerful correlations between recognition and employee engagement and how to increase it.
A few practical suggestions on inspiring, growing team members, and providing direction and purpose. "Here Are 3 Ways to Help Employees Love Their Jobs", Joe Folkman, Forbes
Peter Drucker once said Frances was the most effective executive with whom he had ever worked.
The items in each month's issue of The Leader Letter are first published in my twice weekly blog during the previous month.
If you read each blog post (or issue of The Leader Letter) as it's published over twelve months you'll have read the equivalent of a leadership book. And you'll pick up a few practical leadership tips that help you use time more strategically and tame your E-Beast!
I am always delighted to hear from readers of The Leader Letter with feedback, reflections, suggestions, or differing points of view. Nobody is ever identified in The Leader Letter without their permission. I am also happy to explore customized, in-house adaptations of any of my material for your team or organization. Drop me an e-mail at Jim.Clemmer@ ClemmerGroup.com or connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook, or my blog!
May the Force (of strengths) be with you!
In this Issue:
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©2016 Jim Clemmer and The CLEMMER Group