Archive for January, 2012

Attitude – Six Steps for Building Positive Team Performance and Motivation

SERIES: Part Two of a Five-Part Article

With leaner teams and increasing demand for greater performance and profitability from every aspect within a business today, tactical leaders must know how to intrinsically connect with each player at their innermost level. This will empower and infuse positive energy, thus reinforcing healthy attitudes.

Circumstances don’t just happen.
They happen because of the choices you make!

A tactical leader can deploy “Six Intrinsic Motivators” for increased positive attitudes within the work place and an environment conducive for healthy interactions:

  1. Choice – As often as possible, allow individuals to make independent decisions regarding which task assignments they wish to work on first. People tend to have a higher level of dedication, commitment and ownership to that which they chose to do!
  2. Decision – Allow others to execute their own action plans for implementation. While “choice” deals with what one may do, “decision” deals with how one may accomplish it. Individuals take more pride in their action plans and have a higher level of buy in when they are in charge; when implementing someone else’s decisions, it is easier to have a mentality that says, “What do I have to do to get through this?”
  3. Creativity – Allow for alternative and diverging implementation plans to emerge, and make your work place a safe environment for people to surface new ideas for improved effectiveness. Repetitive action plans lead to complacency and boredom, which eventually lead to burnout and turnover!
  4. Action Plan Feedback – Continually provide others with feedback (positive or constructive) after an endeavor by specifically referencing the action steps that lead to their final output. In this way, an individual will have a better understanding of how to proceed in future situations and gain greater success and effectiveness!
  5. Challenge – Ensure that work for your team is suitable for their expertise, knowledge and desire. An almost sure way to de-motivate individuals, create negative attitudes and run off super stars is to repeatedly task work that does not challenge them. OSHA studies indicate that there is a higher level of on the job accidents and injuries in environments where people are not challenged and complacency resides!
  6. Competition – A surefire way to excite and motivate others to greatness is to tap into one or more of the three intrinsic competitive forces. Professionally, we can compete against (one) someone else’s achievements, two) something else or (three) ourselves.

As a leader, how you tactically engage others will either reinforce positive team attitudes and performance or serve as the seed of future distress, anxiety and implosion. The choice is yours, and the steps are clear. Fostering healthy attitudes that, in turn, improve productivity and profitability within an organization starts with six core intrinsic motivators.

-Dr Jeff Magee
Facebook (Get a FREE copy of my Performance Execution Ebook)
Twitter
http://JeffreyMagee.com

Attitude – Evolving From a Me Vs. You Mentality to an Us Mentality for Peak Performance

SERIES: Part One of a Five-Part Article

The new business order is “Change” (as detailed in the past four columns), and a significant change in attitude will be required for professionals if sustained profitability in performance is to be realized in the work place.

A major impediment to this transformation in ATTITUDE will be elimination of the traditional distrust between labor and management, between business and its customers and between veterans and new entries to an organization. All of this will rest upon the emergence of true leaders in the business place.

There is enough finger-pointing to go all around the business place today. Whether you are an employee, who has traditionally been raised to be anti-management, or management, who traditionally sees labor leaders as troublemakers, the old DNA of business must be terminated.

There is a new set of rules for survival and prosperity.

One of the most alarming examples of perpetuating negative and toxic attitudes was of workers being directed by their union to not work. MAXIM Magazine’s recent article cited members of the “Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees” as having been directed to merely repackage without cleaning blankets from United Airlines, American Airlines and Air Canada. In fact, 78 percent of the blankets tested were found to have pathogens linked to eye and lung infections.

The real fallout of these internal implosions is the external customer. And in a difficult economy, loosing your customer will be a definite map to unemployment for everyone concerned.

The persona or attitude that says, “Yea for me, and the hell with you,” puts people at odds. A persona or attitude that says tune into WIIFU, “What’s In It for Us” (See our recent book release, WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? ISBN #0-9718010-4-5 / US $12.95), will bring people back together.

As a tactical leader, here are “Ten Action Steps” to be used the next time you encounter an attitude digressing towards self-centeredness, department-centeredness or click-centeredness and away from unity-centeredness:

  1. Demand An Alternative© Times Three – If a person is fighting you or others on every idea or possible action implementation plan, stop justifying your position or debating them. Merely politely transition the conversation away from you and, by using “us language,” demand a viable alternative. It might sound like, “If this idea is not viable in your estimation, what do you feel we should do as an alternative?” If they fail to respond, don’t become combative and don’t let their silence let them off the hook. Instead, repeat the same polite question until they put up or shut up!
  2. Assign 100 Percent Accountability – In place of challenging the other person, thus playing into their conversation trap, or working to convert them to your view, which they will further resist as a veiled attempt to appease them or manipulate them, put them solely in charge of that which they would like you and others to believe they are exceedingly more knowledgeable.
  3. Go One-on-One in Private – Meet with them where there would be no audience. Have pre-written the specific challenge issue and several possible resolutions. Then go face-to-face and share your concerns. Play to them how others perceive them and how that is lowering their stock value. Then invite them to partner with you to bring their wisdom, knowledge and experience out into the open for all to benefit.
  4. Avoidance and Limit Exposure – Actively limit your exposure to these people to need only basis. By reducing your causal interactions, you will begin to place distance between their normal behavioral patterns and you; this sometimes will bring out a more hospitable persona. And, as a managerial-leader, limiting this destructive person to others on the teams limits their toxic abilities!
  5. Horizontal (peer application) and Vertical (boss-leader directed) Action Information Gram© – As a peer or leader of an individual that posses a sabotaging attitude, look for an upcoming opportunity to deploy this tactic. An ideal application: after your next meeting with this person, where a new project is rolled out, send an action-oriented, success-directed e-mail to all parties in that roll out. Reference by name each person and what piece they won. Invite everyone to openly share suggestions with one another for immediate effectiveness, reference the follow-up date and where each party has committed to being and make sure a copy goes to each player’s direct supervisor. There is no negative intent with such an e-mail, and if the negative person would have otherwise been negative or toxic, you have made it easier for them to be successful and productive!
  6. Action Memo© Dialogue – Build more “we” based performance attitudes by soliciting action plans from others as often as possible. An Action Memo© stipulates a simple two-step approach to decision-making. Step One would be the identification of the “WHAT FACTOR”…what is the challenge, what is the problem, what is the new idea one wants to introduce, etc. In Step Two, you would simply draft three possible “HOW FACTORS.” Application of this turn around tactic could be in a meeting when someone interrupts you with an item for discussion that is not on the agenda. You would politely turn to them while writing down the new “WHAT FACTOR” that they have introduced and, while handing back to them the piece of paper with their new “WHAT FACTOR,” task them with drafting two or three viable ways that it could be addressed (the HOW FACTORS).
  7. Pain Versus Pleasure Factor – Psychology suggests that, at the root of all behaviors, individuals act based upon a positive gain (pleasure factor) or an avoidance of negativity (pain factor). With the performance attitude derailer, explore which of these two avenues might best serve to change their attitude and, thus, behavior to a more desirable level.
  8. Change Glasses – Perhaps looking at issues, people and the business environment from the perspective of the person you perceive as having a destructive team attitude may give some vision of how they arrived at their position. By arriving at this finding, you can reverse that process over time and coach to a new level of greatness that no one may have thought possible.
  9. Rules of Engagement – Share with the other party how you like to operate, your preferred communication patterns and how you prefer others engage you for peak performance. Then solicit the same from the other person and work to respect them as often as possible. Sometimes people become internally frustrated and exhibit this outwardly with a negative or challenging attitude. By knowing one another’s Rules Of Engagement, you will know each other’s playbook and avoid inadvertently pushing each other’s preverbal hot buttons!
  10. Mentor Involvement – Instead of working to find ways to isolate a potential performance-sabotaging attitude player, reverse all expectations and identify the level of expertise or functionality that they do possess within your organization. Allow them to step up to the plate as a MENTOR to others. This revalues their place within your organization and gives them a reason to become a contributor instead of a derailer!

Evolving from an attitude of one person versus another and onward to an attitude of how do “we” work together is the new business order in a decade of miss guided business leader’s, abdication of ethics and common sense and a spirit of condoned greed and corruption.

Becoming a tactical leader and working to get all players to change their engrained listening patterns away from WIIFM and into the same frequency of “What’s In It For huMankind” or the new WIIFU will be a legacy of success.

-Dr Jeff Magee
Facebook (Get a FREE copy of my Performance Execution Ebook)
Twitter
http://JeffreyMagee.com

Change – Reducing Resistance & Gaining Buy-In With the Five W & One H Model!

SERIES: Part Two of a Four-Part Article

Before you post your next announcement, send mail or e-mail, leave a voicemail message or communicate directly with another person about your next policy change, new product or simply change an initiative, consider what the other party may be thinking under their breath.

Leaders who effectively administer change and create environments conducive to change advocates can defer to a simple “check list”. This list can be checked mentally, when preparing change issues for presentation, and physically, as a facilitating template for change.

Ensure that you appropriately address to each personality involved the following factors:

  1. Who. These factors call into action the four core decision-makers (financial, technical, user, advocate) and authority figures.
  2. What. These factors call into action the core immediate, medium and long-term goals, objectives and needs.
  3. When. These factors call into action the final deadline and any interval deadlines or commitments.
  4. Where. These factors deal with the geography, locale and environmental issues.
  5. Why. These factors deal with the reasoning, logic and importance of the “WHAT Factor”.
  6. How. These factors deal with the procedures, legalities, ethics, costs and ways in which something could be done or not done.

Any item not addressed may become the impetus behind others’ lack of attention, interest and commitment (BUY-IN) and the stimulus to passive-aggressive behaviors. It is these behaviors that may cause the implosion of an otherwise easily implemented change initiative!

Each of the Five W and One H factors serve as a reference point for a series of subsequent questions and checkpoints that can be drawn out of each. Your ability to hold yourself accountable for ensuring that each is referenced thoroughly in the planning stage will dramatically impact the level of excellence that comes out of the implementation stage!

I am reminded of a recent speaking experience I had at a Fortune 500 Leadership Institute. The theater was packed with engineers and mid-level managerial-leaders from around the World. While the audience feedback was explosive, I am sure I will not be invited back. I addressed why “their firm” is getting eaten in the marketplace – a subject with which the senior leaders were not impressed!

While there are presently tens of billions of dollars cashed and in the bank in escrow, with a competing company, for orders for a similar, sleeker, more cost effective commercial version of what they produce (which “they” do not produce) and tens of billions of dollars cashed and in the bank in escrow, with the competing company, for private consumer versions (which “they” do not produce), this company refuses to change. Even though it is reported that it will take the competing company years to produce and fulfill these orders, this client continues in its primary division – attempting to make and sell a product the market no longer can justify.

The market has CHANGED, and the power players don’t want to run the Five W and One H model, as they will learn they must evolve to remain viable. The student of market analysis and the managerial-leader will be able to watch another major firm implode if it does not embrace change.

Success in dealing with change, and even crafting the level of success
individuals may have, can be taken directly from an explosive statement from
ice hockey legend, Wayne Gretsky.
“I don’t skate to where the puck is, I skate to where the puck is going to be!”

Do you use a template to ensure your planning and implementation of change is successful? Do you have an easy system for stimulating critical thoughts and questions to ensure you anticipate change initiatives and meet them effectively? If not, consider this simple and easy Five W and One H model, compliments of the elementary school teacher from your past!

-Dr Jeff Magee
Facebook (Get a FREE copy of my Performance Execution Ebook)
Twitter
http://JeffreyMagee.com

Change – Three Power Steps for Resolving Anger at Change and Gaining Acceptance by All!

SERIES: Part Four of a Four-Part Article

Tempers flare, emotions erupt, behaviors become non-productive and workplace violence can transition from anger to hostility far too quickly when “change” shows its unwanted face in the business place today!

In a climate of competing business interests, social and political pressures, combined with a need for both short term and lasting productivity and profitability, leaders must evaluate their priorities, decisions and assess how to engage others for sustained success. Being able to maintain a fair balance and address constructively those derailers will be a future pathway to success.

“I think it’s time for corporations to move away from the focus on
shareholder value and toward corporate responsibility.
It’s too easy to say shareholders rule without considering the loss of
confidence and cynicism that results from a breach of fairness.”
– Hank McKinnell, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, October 2002
(as reported in Chief Executive Magazine, March 2003)

Confronting these continual challenges, engaging the forces that may possess the capacity for implosion and explosion is critical of effective. To address these potential change-associated business derailers, consider three powerful tactical engagement steps:

1. Acknowledge – the other person’s concerns over the change issue through sincere empathy statements and actions. Most people who resist change and demonstrate some degree of change resistance do so because they feel no one appreciates their position and no one will acknowledge or recognize them unless they act up in what you may perceive as unwanted behavior.

2. Ownership – by accepting the responsibility to engage the other person(s), listen to them, interact with them and involve them in the change dialogue. This shows the potential change resister that you are not abdicating responsibility or excusing the reason for the change to someone else, but that you are an active agent of the change issue. Directly address any concerns and directly participate in the change process.

3. Action – successful change that allows an organization to evolve and thrive is solely dependent upon someone being proactive from the stance of increasing productivity and focusing upon ways to either generate more revenue or save revenue!

As an effective managerial-leader today, your immediate behaviors and tactics will spell either success or stress for you and your team in the face of change.

To further enhance your effectiveness, examine what your “actions” are. Determine the best course of action necessary to create an environment conducive to increased change tolerance and eventual change acceptance by those you engage.

“Circumstances don’t just happen,
they happen because of the choices you make!”
– Damon Roberts, Coauthor
WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
(ISBN #0-9718010-4-5/US $12.95)

While doing this, recognize your actions will be challenged by change resisters. Over time, however, you can cultivate their support if your approach to change involves:

  1. Patience in your demeanor with others and yourself.
  2. Persistence in your every action.
  3. Consistency in every action, every time and with every person.

By following these three powerful tactical engagement steps, you can counter, and possibly even eliminate, flaring tempers, erupting emotions, non-productive behaviors and workplace violence. These are all energy robbers and distract from the business of business – which is business.

-Dr Jeff Magee
Facebook (Get a FREE copy of my Performance Execution Ebook)
Twitter
http://JeffreyMagee.com

Change – Conditioning Change Success With the ABC Formula©!

SERIES: Part Three of a Four-Part Article

Determining the degree of change acceptance a person may have or the change resistance a person may demonstrate has a lot to do with how a managerial-leader sets the stage for engaging others.

Tactically, how you manage your behavior will, in turn, influence the behaviors of others that are necessary for stimulating change. And how you continue to reinforce these behaviors influences the level of change acceptance in others. This may be the difference between an effective managerial-leader and a truly successful managerial-leader!

To understand this conditioning process and how individuals actually influence the change process, consider the ABC Formula© as a mathematical formula for human behavior tactical engagement:

A+B=C

Activating Event(s) + Behavior (of recipient) = Consequence (outcome)

Putting change into motion would imply that something happens, or a stimulant appears (A), causing one to do or not do something (B) with that initial stimulant (A). It is the merging of these two forces (A+B) that causes the degree of the outcome (C)!

So, in the change process, if an individual does not like the “A” and engages it in a negative or non-accepting manner, “B”, the outcome as the “C” will never be as constructive, productive, profitable or positive as it had the capacity to become.

To create a change process more conducive to one’s own desires, one must recognize the desired change may be the result of a continuous series of consistent behaviors.

To eventually get an unchallenged change outcome from others, one should recognize that the “C”, which leaves you and becomes another person’s “A”, may have to evolve through the ABC Formula© several times before the subtle change actualizes with others’ and becomes a constructive new norm of business and behavior.

Some of your initial “Behaviors (B)” may be becoming more patient with others, becoming a better listener and inviting greater participation from those that would need to participate in the change process, thereby sending a new signal that, when it comes to change, you are willing to engage constructively and not challenge or derail initiatives.

Far too many times in change issues, everyone focuses disproportionate amounts of energy on the end point (C). This immediately causes everyone to take sides, defend their turf and challenge one another, thereby making change resistance fashionable and change acceptance a foreign experience!

Understanding the power of the ABC Formula© is experienced in the recent fiction story, SQUIRM TO LEARN© (ISBN #0-9718010-0/US $12.95). Set in the fictional towns of Squirmville and Squelchville with colorful characters such as Wanta, Stew and Sunny, the reader experiences the power of conditioning others to embrace and accept change as a positive opportunity and how learning is the catalyst to successful growth and change.

As a managerial-leader, determining the degree of change acceptance a person may have or the change resistance a person may demonstrate will be your catalyst to effecting change and determining whether your work environment will be one of squirming acceptance or squelching terrorism!

-Dr Jeff Magee
Facebook (Get a FREE copy of my Performance Execution Ebook)
Twitter
http://JeffreyMagee.com

Change – Reducing Resistance & Gaining Buy-In With the Five W & One H Model!

SERIES: Part Two of a Four-Part Article

Before you post your next announcement, send mail or e-mail, leave a voicemail message or communicate directly with another person about your next policy change, new product or simply change an initiative, consider what the other party may be thinking under their breath.

Leaders who effectively administer change and create environments conducive to change advocates can defer to a simple “check list”.  This list can be checked mentally, when preparing change issues for presentation, and physically, as a facilitating template for change.

Ensure that you appropriately address to each personality involved the following factors:

  1. Who. These factors call into action the four core decision-makers (financial, technical, user, advocate) and authority figures.

  2. What. These factors call into action the core immediate, medium and long-term goals, objectives and needs.

  3. When. These factors call into action the final deadline and any interval deadlines or commitments.

  4. Where. These factors deal with the geography, locale and environmental issues.

  5. Why. These factors deal with the reasoning, logic and importance of the “WHAT Factor”.

  6. How. These factors deal with the procedures, legalities, ethics, costs and ways in which something could be done or not done.

Any item not addressed may become the impetus behind others’ lack of attention, interest and commitment (BUY-IN) and the stimulus to passive-aggressive behaviors. It is these behaviors that may cause the implosion of an otherwise easily implemented change initiative!

Each of the Five W and One H factors serve as a reference point for a series of subsequent questions and checkpoints that can be drawn out of each. Your ability to hold yourself accountable for ensuring that each is referenced thoroughly in the planning stage will dramatically impact the level of excellence that comes out of the implementation stage!

I am reminded of a recent speaking experience I had at a Fortune 500 Leadership Institute. The theater was packed with engineers and mid-level managerial-leaders from around the World. While the audience feedback was explosive, I am sure I will not be invited back. I addressed why “their firm” is getting eaten in the marketplace – a subject with which the senior leaders were not impressed!

While there are presently tens of billions of dollars cashed and in the bank in escrow, with a competing company, for orders for a similar, sleeker, more cost effective commercial version of what they produce (which “they” do not produce) and tens of billions of dollars cashed and in the bank in escrow, with the competing company, for private consumer versions (which “they” do not produce), this company refuses to change. Even though it is reported that it will take the competing company years to produce and fulfill these orders, this client continues in its primary division – attempting to make and sell a product the market no longer can justify.

The market has CHANGED, and the power players don’t want to run the Five W and One H model, as they will learn they must evolve to remain viable. The student of market analysis and the managerial-leader will be able to watch another major firm implode if it does not embrace change.

Success in dealing with change, and even crafting the level of success

individuals may have, can be taken directly from an explosive statement from

ice hockey legend, Wayne Gretsky.

“I don’t skate to where the puck is, I skate to where the puck is going to be!”

Do you use a template to ensure your planning and implementation of change is successful? Do you have an easy system for stimulating critical thoughts and questions to ensure you anticipate change initiatives and meet them effectively?  If not, consider this simple and easy Five W and One H model, compliments of the elementary school teacher from your past!

-Dr Jeff Magee
Facebook (Get a FREE copy of my Performance Execution Ebook)
Twitter
http://JeffreyMagee.com

Change – The Three-Step Process To Change Effectiveness!

SERIES: Part One of a Four-Part Article

The ability to positively influence change within oneself and among others – and have others embrace it enthusiastically – can be the simple difference between success and stress.

By far, one of the greatest contributors to reduced productivity and, subsequently, profitability in the business place and at home is the failure to understand the “change process” has a very defined structure. There are three distinct steps to change. How one addresses each and facilitates each has a direct correlation with the outcome or lack thereof!

Build the “Bridge to Why,”

and all will reach “Change” easily!

Convincing people to travel with you, from where they are to a powerful, positively changed future, involves getting them to cross the “Bridge To Why”. That is the single bridge most in management – and many parents – fail to build and aid others in crossing. Call it lack of understanding, lack of patience to build or just plain stubbornness. Whichever term you use, without the bridge you will be left attempting to push and pull others across the river of perceived insurmountable change!

The Three-Step Change Process involves minimal or significant work. It’s up to you to make that calculated judgment call.

  1. STEP ONE: AWARENESS equals both the “WHAT Factors” and the “WHY Factors”. What does one do to make oneself and others aware of the “Need”, “Problem”, “Pain” or “Gain” of a raised issue that needs to be addressed and, thus, changed?

This first step involves action items such as reflecting upon how best to raise an issue; determining what steps may be required to condition the vested player(s) to be receptive of the subject matter; recognizing the best environment in which to raise the matter; considering the amount of time and the best time to raise the matter; which power players or advocates may need to be pre-engaged and present to assist in influencing buy-in from others. If people are not on the same subject line as you, talking about the new thing will be a waste of time!

The most important step in the AWARENESS process, and the one most grossly ignored, forgotten, side-stepped and loosely addressed by most managers is the “WHY” or rationalization step.  While the case may be clearly communicated in terms of the “WHAT Factor” (what is being changed, what must start, what must stop, what must be avoided, what is now obligated, etc.), frequently what is not addressed as adequately is the rationalization, reasoning or logic of “WHY” that “WHAT” has been addressed.

  1. STEP TWO: Engagement addresses the “HOW Factors” of the action plan. With a clear understanding of the “WHAT/WHY Factors”, mental and physical energies can now be directed toward the development of viable action plans and selections.

In this second step of the change process, you will want to ensure you feel confident with the action plans you have designed to fulfill the needs identified from STEP ONE. If you are engaging others as a managerial-leader, STEP TWO is critical in ensuring that others really do feel that “HOW” the “WHAT Factor” is to be addressed is practical and necessary, thereby feeding their “WHY” compulsions.

  1. STEP THREE: Commit to implement the action plan from STEP TWO and specifically reveal “WHEN” action will occur. At this step, you will know the “WHEN Factor” of implementation, forward momentum and, thus, success. Organizations frequently implode at this stage, and management goes into melt- down due to lack of commitment and missed deadlines by the implementation team.

During the first two steps, if people feel they are being dictated to or, conversely, do not feel involved, breakdown in STEP THREE can be expected!

Facilitate effective change with yourself and others by independently focusing all energies on one step at a time:

  1. Awareness equals the “WHAT” and “WHY Factors”.

  2. Engagement equals the “HOW” components of dispensing the “WHAT Factor”.

  3. Commit to implement the “HOW” of a plan!

Change is embraced by successful people and organizations and avoided by most. Now that you have the three-step plan mapped out, the question is simple. Will you commit or wait for someone else to implement plans for success, thus garnering the spoils of victory before your very eyes?

-Dr Jeff Magee
Facebook (Get a FREE copy of my Performance Execution Ebook)
Twitter
http://JeffreyMagee.com