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Carl Robinson, Ph.D. on Leadership Store September 20, 2011
 
We help maximize the effectiveness of individuals and organizations by helping them improve their ability to lead, work together, select and develop their people.  Some of our related business services include: executive coaching, executive team coaching and executive assessments for development and selection.


Carl Robinson, Ph.D., Managing Principal
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Seattle, Washington
206-545-1990
carl@leadershipconsulting.com

In This Issue:

Shortcut to Developing Top Performers

The True Source of New Ideas

Situation Room!


Quote of the Day

“A good coach will make his players see what they can become rather than what they are.” – Ara Parseghian

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Shortcut to Developing Top Performers

Mentoring is quickly becoming the most effective and least costly alternative for fostering young or inexperienced talent.  You will find that developing a mentoring culture in your organization gives you the opportunity to augment learning and better utilize your resources.  Moreover, the benefits of relationship skills learned (by both sides) will spread through the whole organization.  As the relationships deepen, people feel more connected to the organization. 
 
Ultimately, the learning that results creates value for the entire organization. An excellent mentoring program is fostered by creating readiness for mentoring, facilitating opportunities and building in support mechanisms to ensure success. 
Here are some of the hallmarks of a good mentoring culture. 
 
1. Hold everyone accountable.  Accountability measures such as setting goals, clarifying expectations, monitoring results and formulating action goals, will enhances performance and produce long-lasting results. Shared intention, responsibility and ownership go a long way toward a successful mentoring relationship. 
 
2. Share your stories. Share personal mentoring stories with your colleagues.  Make yourself one of the leaders who spreads the “value proposition” offered by mentoring by letting your peers know what you have found out regarding best practices, the life cycle and success of your own mentoring experiences. 
 
3. Increase opportunities. Help your organization develop a multi-pronged approach to mentoring; there is no single method for successful mentoring.  For example, many organizations couple group mentoring with one-on-one mentoring; the learning from one reinforces the other.
 
4. Provide training.  Ensure that your organization is teaching its leaders to foster a mentoring culture.  Encourage the organization to provide overall training, both for the mentor and mentee roles.  This will get the ball rolling on fostering mentoring within your organization. 
 
Start your own mentoring by consulting with a seasoned mentor.  Ask him or her what you can do to begin networking with colleagues to mentor others who are at a point in their career which would benefit from this kind of relationship. Remember, your organization is bound to benefit, too!
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The True Source of New Ideas

As unlikely as it sounds, studies have shown that the great ideas and plans don’t come from idea generating sessions.  Although this squelches our belief in the traditional brainstorming session, read on to learn how successful innovation takes place.   
Keith Sawyer, in his book Group Genius, posits that innovation is not the result of a brilliant insight by one player, but rather a result of small and constant change.  He has studied verbal cues, body language and incremental adjustments during team efforts.  He shows that innovation today is a continuous process of change.  The classic brainstorming tool that has been used over the last 20 or so years is less effective than generally believed. While a group process is critical, great ideas and plans rarely are the result of an idea inspiration that pops up in a brainstorming session.   
The more likely scenario is to break down where the company has been successful in the past and find components that can be used as a spring board for group discussion.  Today’s brainstorming session should start with a seed and be built upon by a diverse group of thinkers.  The fact is that successful idea generation actually happens in a solo environment.  So today’s brainstorming session actually should have a starting place that can be built upon.   
 
An article in the September Harvard Business Review describes “collective creativity” as explained by Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Animation Studios and Disney Animation Studios:
 
“Creativity involves a large number of people from different disciplines working together to solve a great many problems. Creativity must be present at every level of every artistic and technical part of the organization.”   
 
So introducing your group to a few good starting points and having them build on that is what will more likely result in an innovation for the company.  The group brings its knowledge and experience to the table, giving it a better chance of success.
Here is what Keith Sawyer says about group innovation:
 
“Along the way I collected stories of significant innovations—both historical, like the airplane and the telegraph, and contemporary, like email and the mountain bike. And I made a fascinating discovery: Even though these products didn’t result from a single conversation, their historical emergence followed the same process as an improvised conversation--with small sparks gathering together over time, multiple dead ends, and the reinterpretation of previous ideas.” 
 
So for your next brainstorming session, try to shift the focus from throwing out many disparate ideas to generating innovative additions to the ideas or concepts that already exist.  

Situation Room!

How do you reward accomplishments and acknowledge issues?
 
Last year around this time you challenged your workforce to implement several new programs, step up their measurable service rating through increased positive responses in client surveys, and provided three tiers of goals to measure fiscal success.
 
Your marketplace had been arching, so it was no surprise that you reached all three levels of your goals – however you dwarfed even the highest tier, adding nearly 15% on top of what you thought would be difficult to reach.
 
The biggest surprise was in the customer service surveys, where you went from a respectable 91% up to a staggering 98.5% satisfaction rating in regards to your front line service workers. Each of the other managed components for whom a satisfaction rating is compiled, supervisors, sales staff, and IT support stayed nearly identical to the numbers from previous years.
 
However, there was a noticeable decrease in satisfaction rating numbers from the product repair department where they dropped from 87% to 79%. The director of the department blamed the drop on a new part that failed consistently, leading to customer frustration, although there was nothing directly in the survey from clients supporting that claim.
 
You want to recognize everyone in the organization for helping you to exceed goals, and will deal with the possibility of faulty components as a contributor to the low rating for the repairs department. However you want to give special credit to the customer service department at your annual meeting for their increase.
 
How can you best leverage their success to inspire other departments without making the repairs department feel worse for being the only division to see a slide – especially one that may not have been completely their doing?
 
 
Send me your solution and I'll reward you with a free leadership oriented developmental assessment that you can take online and receive a confidential development report.


Featured Tools

The Complete Mentoring Program!

The Complete Mentoring Program is a comprehensive, unified, video-based mentoring system.
 
Key Benefits:
By developing managers into mentors, an organization can create a credible succession strategy built on a foundation of inclusion, self-improvement, and loyalty.
This program provides all the tools you need to establish a system that nourishes high performers, who, in turn, will help develop the next generation.
 
Key Features:
The number one video-based mentoring program in the world. Over 90 minutes of video realistically models essential mentor behaviors in 6 dimensions. A series of organization readiness inventories enables the OD professional or trainer to ensure smooth integration of mentoring into the organizations unique environment.
An assessment for mentors prepares them for their role by evaluating their own skill readiness to take on mentor responsibilities. All the materials the program coordinator/leader needs to competently implement this mentoring—solution!
 
Description:
The Complete Mentoring Program is an all inclusive, turnkey package of tested materials for use by program coordinators, managers and trainers. This program offers a mentoring self-assessment inventory and provides the mentor and the mentee each with a separate handbook to guide them as informed participants. This program is centered on the mentoring model of interpersonal learning as a planned collaborative initiative.
 
This program includes:
1 copy of Becoming a Mentor: A Video-Based Workshop Series (6 videos)
1 copy of The Step-by-Step Guide to Starting an Effective Mentoring Program
1 copy of the Assessment of Organizational Readiness for Mentoring
10 copies of the Principles of Adult Mentoring Inventory
10 copies of The Manager's Pocket Guide to Effective Mentoring
10 copies of The Mentee's Guide to Mentoring
10 copies of the Guide to Mentee Planning
1 copy of the Principles of Adult Mentoring Inventory
Leader's Guide PowerPoint Presentation
 
 
Learn more.


Advanced Leadership Consulting • 2815 Eastlake Ave., E, Suite 300 • Seattle, WA 98102
http://www.leadershipconsulting.com/
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