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Carl Robinson, Ph.D. on Leadership April 10, 2012
 
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:

Got Talent? Strategies for Keeping Your Best & Brightest

Becoming The Boss: Building Leaders Through Education


Book Report: The Advantage

The latest of Patrick Lencioni’s books is also a first of sorts. His previous works, while entertaining, have come in the shape of fables. The Advantage (Jossey-Bass, 2012) leaves the storyboard behind and instead Lencioni writes what is at the same time a more typical business book, and one unlike anything we’ve seen before.
 
To read the dust jacket description of the book you may think it is yet another superficial attempt to define corporate culture, however this book peels the onion to the core. It is a well written process for understanding the root causes of culture-failure and how to create organizational health through increasing the clarity of the business, and those who make it run. Issues of culture and organizational health have always been viewed as “too soft”, however The Advantage breaks the nebulous topic into manageable, definitive chunks – with more than enough entertainment value to keep it from becoming a yawn inspiring academic text book.
 
As the author thematically repeats, the solution (and ultimate business advantage) is simple, free, and available. Yet it is ignored by most business leaders. Reading this book is immediate cause for reflection, regardless of your industry, and earns our pick as the Top Read of the first quarter of 2012.
>Buy from Amazon.com

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Got Talent? Strategies for Keeping Your Best & Brightest

Have you lost any good employee talent recently? Do you think the loss was necessary? Was the defection for the purpose of a better opportunity, or because they “checked out” of your organization? That is, did they run away from your organization or run towards another? 
 
Employees leave for a variety of reasons. Boredom, under appreciation, underpayment, disillusionment, stress, deterioration of relationships, or the need to “move up” in their careers can all play a factor. Sooner or later all talent is likely to consider moving on. You’ve done it too.
  
However, we can mitigate the losses incurred if we address most of the needs (or perceived needs) that cause our employees to head for the door. Moreover, the loss of one employee can be infectious, and that can increase your costs exponentially.
  
We all know that good employees tend to leave before the bad ones. Logic follows that if you are not retaining the valuable employees, and are unable to infuse the company with new high performers, over time your resources will dry up and your company will run against the rocks.
  
Think for a moment about your high performing, experienced workers. Those who carry with them wisdom, historical knowledge of the organization, and the respect of other staff who are more loyal to them than to the organization itself. What will become of your company if you have a mass exodus?
  
Why do waves of turnover take us by surprise? Because we weren’t paying attention.
 
Here are a few strategies that you can use in your efforts to keep your most productive employees:
  
Take The Temperature
Check in personally with your key experienced personnel on an intermittent basis. The fact is that once people have “checked out” it is difficult to bring them back into the fold.
 
Catch Disillusionment
Disenchanted or resentful employees can take a long, slow path to leaving the company. This can be even worse than a quick exit. The negative impact on morale from this kind of employee’s excruciating exit process is hard to shake.
 
Get Them Involved
Help your experienced workers want to stay with the company by asking them for their advice, including them in decision-making, and offering them flexibility. Engagement is key. Withdrawal is the enemy. As withdrawal calcifies, a return to positive, engaged involvement is difficult to regain.
 
Reassess Compensation
Are your most valuable team members receiving a realistic package that can compete with comparable options within the industry? Giving up a small amount of your budget here can pay off exponentially in a valuable resource retained.
 
Provide Opportunity 
It’s a good practice to know what your most valued employees want to become within the walls of your organization. Providing ongoing development opportunities, coaching, and education can make the difference between grooming or losing a star performer.

Becoming The Boss: Building Leaders Through Education

Making the move from staff member to supervisor can prove to be a major challenge. In order to make this change successfully, a new leader must learn to look at their working world in a completely different light. The new “boss” is expected to transform into an entirely new person, behaving and relating differently to co-workers and adjusting their individual approaches to the productivity for which they are responsible.
  
The first few weeks are critical in providing the framework of success. A firm foundation needs to be established in order to minimize bad habits that lead to a poor perception from direct reports. Getting off to a poor start when “Becoming the Boss” can crimp the effectiveness of what happens from that point forward if not approached appropriately and strategically.
  
Not unlike a new technical role, a new relationship role requires planning, education, and commitment. Defining the role of supervisor in a logical way will help them to hit the ground running as respected team leader, rather than simply being the new sheriff in town.
  
The largest struggle for the majority of new bosses comes when it is time to pick a strategy for relating to, and motivating team members. Understanding situational leadership style selection can go a long way to ensuring that the new supervisor treats employees consistently, and provides a standardized model for choosing that style will ease the transition into this new role.
  
Inspiring a Can-Do Attitude Through Education
  
Education for the new boss should always start with a holistic view of their role. It can be easy for those new to leadership positions to attempt to exist in a bubble and over-focus their decision making to their micro-environments. Walking new leaders through how their efforts will affect the purpose of the business, the customers they serve, the various departments within the company, and how everything works together as a system will help them to understand how the output of their team relates to the objectives and goals of the entire company.
 
Leadership development training and coaching has been proven to be the most consistent indicator of long-term success. These developmental steps supply the building blocks of knowledge, and the confidence to put that knowledge into practice.
  
It has long been difficult to measure the gains of development efforts, but a study of Fortune 500 executives showed that employees who received both training and coaching increased the productivity for which they are responsible by 52%, improved relationships with their direct reports by 77%, and improved their own job satisfaction by 71%. Both formal and informal development efforts for the new boss are at the heart of encouraging every member to give their best performance.


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