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Organizational Development

Don’t Change, be Different

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Get Unstuck

This excerpt is taken from “Get Unstuck, Stay Unstuck, and do What you are – Why people do What They do in Your Organization and What to do About it”

Don’t change, be Different

 Not Changing but Being Different Is an Extremely Important Concept

 

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As you may know, I have been in this, the people business for a long time.

At age 17, the summer before my first year of university and then throughout my years in academia, I worked in several drug rehab centers in downtown Toronto and then Montreal.

So from a rather young age, helping people “Get Unstuck…” has for me been a journey, an learning odyssey if you will, covering more than half a century.

And of all the concepts that I have learned, authored, developed, espoused or used in that time, I deem this, “Don’t Change, be Different”, to be, for people generally and leaders specifically, one of the most powerful, important and transformational.

Over the course of that time, certainly the last 30 years where the emphasis in my work has been executives and CEOs, I have been privileged to work with some very smart, good, ambitious and successful leaders who have needed or wanted to improve their situations.

But so often they either:

A. Don’t know how to “Get Unstuck…” or

B. Know what to do but don’t want to or think they shouldn’t have to.

In other words, they don’t want to change.

And, this is where I think that what I do, helping people get better leadership outcomes by being more of who they are, is rather unique.

I say this because I actually agree with people who don’t think they should have to change.

In fact, I quite believe that on measure, we can’t change and shouldn’t try to change.

But we can be different, when we need to be. Read More

A Tale of Two CEOs: How Leaders Unwittingly Cause Complexity

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Get Unstuck

This excerpt is taken from “Get Unstuck, Stay Unstuck, and do What you are”

The Tale of Two CEOs – Jimmy and Jenna

How Leaders Unwittingly Cause Complexity

“When all you have in your hand is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.”

Abraham Maslow

 

Self Inflicted Wounds

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Human nature is basically instinctual.

It is helpful and important to know that organizations are also fundamentally “instinctual institutions”.

And most leaders tend to be unwittingly instinctual in how they run their companies, that is to say, they (unwittingly) lead and behave in ways that are most natural and comfortable for them.

But in so doing they often make things more complicated than they need to or should be.

The way most businesses run is that once strategies and budgets are created (Football), no matter how much complexity is involved, managers need to translate them into specific goals for departments, units, and teams (Basketball) and then make sure that people actually carry them out (Baseball).

All three systems (games) depending on the task at hand, at some point will come into play.

We need to be good at managing all three organizational games, often in the face of our natural inclinations and instincts.

This is not an easy thing to do.

The point of this article is that the failure of a leader to be aware of what is needed by her company at any given moment and to adapt to the systemic demands and the requisite leadership style embedded in that moment, actually creates more complexity than otherwise would be the case.

In other words, leaders trying to do their best, sometimes actually make things worse; they actually cause more complexity simply by being who they are.

 

Two CEOs: Jimmy and Jenna

Jimmy and Jenna are CEOs of two young but progressive companies.

Both of them have very different styles.

Each of their organizations is still small enough to need direct involvement/management from their respective CEOs.

Each is facing complexities that are very frustrating but neither realizes how they (their personal and management style) are the primary cause of their concerns.

Jimmy (he owns and runs a software firm) does little to foster team play in his organization.

He does not hold regular staff meetings and in fact has little patience for meetings in general, preferring one-on-one sessions, phone calls, and e-mail.

And of course, Jimmy thinks this is quite fine.

But as a result of his style, his managers often find themselves bumping into one another when their goals and priorities conflict, for example, when a number of his brand managers wound up competing with each other for the same trade spending funds. Read More

How our Core Personality Develops – Part Two

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Get Unstuck

This excerpt is taken from “Get Unstuck, Stay Unstuck, and do What you are”

How our Core Personality Develops – Part Two

Our Core Self Has Three Developmental Stages/Levels

Here and elsewhere I have posited that there are three determinants that make us do what we do.

They are:

1. The “Me” that is my System (the most powerful determinant because it makes “everybody do what they do; everyone stops at the red light and so forth).

2. The “Me” that is my Situation, which makes most people do what they do most of the time (team and social situations and so forth).

3. The “Me” that is my Self (our core personality).

In  part one we explored how the core personality, the “Me” that is my Self develops.

I suggested that there are three layers.

We also discussed a general theory, based on twins separated at birth for how our personalities develop.

In this section, we will analyze how the three stages we described in part one, that make up our specific or core personality type and preference, actually happen.

In other words, how and why we are the way we are and why and how we function, feel and interact with people the way we do.

Read More

How our Core Personality Develops – Part One

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Get Unstuck

This excerpt is taken from “Get Unstuck, Stay Unstuck, and do What you are”

How our Core Personality Develops

Our Core Self Has Three Developmental Stages/Levels

In other articles and certainly in several of my books we have discussed the three primary determinants to human interaction and behavior.

The first, the “Me” that is my System is the most powerful determinant because it makes “everybody do what they do.

Systems are designed to measure and reward the behavior that it wants from the people inside said system.

That is why, for instance, everyone stops at the red light and so forth.

We have also detailed the second determinant, the “Me” that is my Situation, which makes most people do what they do most of the time (team and social situations and so forth).

In this article we will analyze the third and most visceral determinant, the “Me” that is my Self (our core personality).

This is the part of us that makes each person do what they do (all the time; if they had their druthers).

A very interesting and important question for many of us is, “Who am I at the core, my center so to speak and further to that, how did I end up this way?”

Let’s talk about that.

As shown in the diagram below, three convergent, sequential and systemic developmental stages determine our basic or core personality.

In other words, they comprise how and why we are the way we are and why and how we function, feel and interact with people the way we do. Read More

Self Mastery: Strategy One – What Do You Do When You Don’t Want to but Should

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Get Unstuck

The following Excerpt is Taken from “Get Unstuck, Stay Unstuck and do What you are”

Self Mastery Strategy One: What Do You Do When You Don’t Want To – Five Steps

 When you need to decide whether or how to do something, there is a five step process.

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Those steps are:

  1. Eliminate
  2. Automate
  3. Delegate
  4. Calibrate
  5. Celebrate

1. Eliminate:

The first question one must ask is, do I need to do this at all?

If the task needs to be done, then we proceed to step number two.

 

2. Automate: Develop a (Support) System:

That compensates for and complements your weakness, that is the overdoing of your strength

 

3. Delegate: Partner with (hire) or someone:

Pay or find someone who is opposite to you and likes to do or is good at what you don’t like to do.

On this option, it is good to ask:

1. Can this be done in-house?

2. How much control will I/we lose?

3. Can I live with the loss of control?

4. How will this change affect my customers?

 

 4. Calibrate: Make your weakness (the opposite of what you love to do) a skill:

We need to recalibrate and develop a skill that approximates or looks like a natural talent when the task at hand requires it.

Then make sure you revert or go back to your default position, what you love to do and “celebrate” that you are able “to do what you are.”

The thinking process looks like the following:

  1. Eliminate
  2. Automate
  3. Delegate
  4. Calibrate

This is Self Mastery Strategy Number Twelve that I have written about in “Get Unstuck, Stay Unstuck and do What you are”; the Ikea Effect, to not only do what you love (this is what I mean by “doing what you are” which should always be our first choice) but to love what you do.

 

5. Celebrate

Now you can go back to being who and doing what you are. Read More

Self Mastery: What is it and How do you Get it?

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Get Unstuck

The following excerpt is taken from “Get Unstuck, Stay Unstuck and do What you are”

Self Mastery: What is it and how do we Get it?

The Dichotomous Nature of Self Mastery

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Corollary Twenty-Two:

 You might recall from an earlier chapter, corollary twenty two from the Law of Reciprocity.

Life is intrinsically dichotomous, thus fundamentally dissonant. It is a “two edged sword”, “a two sided coin”, “six of one, half dozen of another”, “the lesser of two evils”, “neither this nor that”, the “devil and the deep blue sea”, “people want to have their cake and eat it too”, a “rock and a hard place”.

This means three things:

1)  Both people in an argument are (usually) right, and wrong.

2)  The answer to everything is, “It depends”.

3)  Everybody is “stuck” about something.

 

The Masterful Leader

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If the notion of dichotomy as stated above is true then above all we need judgment, to know when and the degree to use or apply one attribute in a given situation as opposed to the other.

You will note that the term I have coined for the leader who is able to move seamlessly and easily from one side of Self Mastery to the other as needed, is Masterful Leader.

The Masterful Leader realizes that the important thing is not to get the right strategy but get the strategy right.

That means that we have in our (rather varied) repertoire whatever response is needed (the opposite reaction nestled within either side of our brain) given the task, situation or challenge that life is proffering at any given moment.

Like a master chef you will need to use your judgment and sprinkle these ingredients into your situation judiciously.

On the chart on the next page you will see the recipe for self mastery, the eight attributes of people who prevail in the face of adversity.

The important point is to have all eight attributes in your repertoire and at the ready at a moment’s notice.

Also note how the two dichotomous sides of self mastery are fundamentally driven by the two opposite sides of the brain, the right and the left brain.

On the one hand the attributes (contemplative, analytical, patient and cautious) in column one correspond to the Passive and Reflective left hemisphere in the brain,.

On the other hand the attributes in column two (competitive, confident, full steam ahead) are driven by the more Aggressive and Active right hemisphere of the brain.

Knowing, using and mastering all eight attributes in either column when they are needed is crucial to the development of self mastery.

In other words, this is how to be efficacious about being efficacious. Read More

What Causes Silos in your Company and What to do About it?

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The following excerpt is taken from “The Phantom of the Operation”

Unnecessary Politics (Silos) are the Most Frustrating Part of any Organization

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Silos are nothing more than the barriers that exist between departments within an organization, causing people who are supposed to be on the same team to work against one another.

And whether we call this phenomenon departmental politics, divisional rivalry, or turf warfare, it is one of the most frustrating aspects of life in any sizable organization.

Now, sometimes silos do come about because leaders at the top of an organization have interpersonal problems with one another.

But my experience suggests that this is often not the case.

 

Silos are not Caused by People

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Surprisingly, interdepartmental politics, divisional rivalry and turf warfare for the most part are not caused by people.

They are primarily occasioned by the “silo system” utilized by most companies to run their operations.

In most situations, silos develop not because of what executives are doing purposefully but rather because of what they are failing to do.

They are not providing themselves and their employees with a compelling context for working together.

In other words, they fail to develop and institute the right system. Read More

Coaching Excellence: How to Address Poor Performance

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Series-A-BLACK-Book-3

The following article is an excerpt taken from “The Ten Laws for Coaching Excellence”

Part Five: Situation Three – How to Address or Facilitate Poor Performance

In part one of this five part series on coaching we detailed how to have a good conversation in the first of three difficult situations called “How to have a Facilitative and Motivating Conversation with an Employee”.

In part two we looked at how to have have a good conversation with an employee in a second difficult situation, Delegating a Simple but Boring Task.

In part three we explored why employees get defensive or difficult and what we can do about it.

In part four we analyzed a big mistake that many managers make, that is using what is commonly called the “Praise Sandwich”.

We also suggested a more productive way to give feedback to employees.

In this post, we will describe how address an employee’s poor performance.

 

Situation Three: How to Address or Facilitate Poor Performance

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Situation: You need to initiate the conversation to make a point or correct poor performance.

You might recall that after determining that the employee could do what you needed if they chose to, there are five steps you can take:

1)  Get their agreement that a problem exists by using observed behavior and objective standards.

2)  Identify the likely cause.

3)  Discuss alternative solutions and/or have them develop a solution.

4)  Mutually discuss the alternative solutions and agree on the best action to be taken.

5)  Follow up to measure results and reinforce the good results when they occur.

The key is to focus on observable behaviour that the two of you can agree about without unhelpful emotion and different interpretations. Read More

Coaching Excellence: Why the “Praise Sandwich” Does not Work

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Series-A-BLACK-Book-3

The following article is an excerpt taken from “The Ten Laws for Coaching Excellence”

 The “Praise Sandwich”: A Big Mistake Managers Make

In part one of this five part series on coaching we detailed how to have a good conversation in the first of three difficult situations called “How to have a Facilitative and Motivating Conversation with an Employee”.

In part two we looked at how to have have a good conversation with an employee in a second difficult situation, Delegating a Simple but Boring Task.

In part three we explored why employees get defensive or difficult and what we can do about it.

Today we will analyze a big mistake that many managers make, that is using what is commonly called the “Praise Sandwich”.

 

The “Praise Sandwich”: A Big Mistake Managers Make

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Managers seize on this tendency (unwisely so) when they use the “praise sandwich”, in which they insert a criticism between two delicious slices of praise:

“I think this is excellent work.

It would be great if could (important feedback here).

But overall, as I say, it’s excellent work.”

This is a good way to avoid alienating your reports, but often the point you really want to make is lost in the process.

1)  They might feel better but not become better.

2) They might see what you are doing and feel manipulated and find more reason to distrust you for the next time (so they have further reason to not admit they are wrong or need to change).

The Key Factor to Effectively Facilitate a Good Resolution Is Always Your Approach and Timing

Have you ever used the “sandwich approach” to give negative feedback to your direct reports?

You sandwich the negative feedback between two pieces of positive feedback.

It’s a common method, but the sandwich approach may be undermining both your feedback and your relationships with your direct reports.

First, let’s look at why leaders use the sandwich approach and why it doesn’t work. Read More

Coaching Excellence: Why Employees Get Defensive and Difficult

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Series-A-BLACK-Book-3

The following article is an excerpt taken from “The Ten Laws for Coaching Excellence”

Why Employees (Everybody) get Defensive and Difficult

In part one of this five part series on coaching we detailed how to have a good conversation in the first of three difficult situations called “How to have a Facilitative and Motivating Conversation with an Employee”.

In part two we looked at how to have have a good conversation with an employee in a second difficult situation, Delegating a Simple but Boring Task.

Today we will explore why employees get defensive or difficult and what we can do about it.

 

Why Employees (Everybody) get Defensive and Difficult

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Before we detail how to motivate a difficult or unmotivated employee, it is important for a coach, leader or manager to know what makes them act as they do and then of course what to do about it.

When something goes wrong, when we feel threatened or uncomfortable, people’s (the human brain’s) default position is to defend themselves.

There are three oddities in the human brain that make us defensive and seem to preclude us from learning from our failures and becoming more successful.

These three oddities, that make being a manager so difficult, are

 1. We Deny

2. We Delay

3. We Delude

Let’s first look at the first step. Read More