Team building

September 3, 2015

Why Lucy failed (and others do, too)

I Love Lucy (snicker)! She was a strong female television character, and business woman, long before it was in our consciousness that there weren’t so many of those.

image of Lucy on the chocolate lineIf you had the opportunity to watch any of the old I Love Lucy shows, you might remember the time Lucy and Ethel, her faithful sidekick, got jobs in a chocolate factory. (If you are too young to have seen it, click on the picture and catch the must-see clip over on YouTube).

Needless to say, Lucy and Ethel didn’t last more than a day at the factory. They truly were not good matches for the job.  Let’s concentrate on Lucy and explore why she failed.

Lucy was a fiery redhead who made quick decisions with very little information and who loved being in front of people.  She was married to a Cuban band leader and club owner who she was always trying to manipulate. Fast on her feet, Lucy was fine with rapid change and was awful at following rules.

In the world of behaviors analysis, Lucy had a DISC profile that probably looked like this: High D (dominance), High I (influence), low S (steadiness), and low C (compliance).

And with that, they put her on an assembly line!

Assembly lines are the very essence of following rules and procedures (High C), and of coping with sameness (High S).  What a mismatch.

But let’s take it a step further and think about Lucy’s motivators, what drove her to action.  Lucy was forever looking for ways to perform in Ricky’s club shows.  She dressed well, and like to be surrounded by beautiful things.  She also tried her best to be in charge wherever she was.  So, Lucy seemed to be driven by form, beauty, and experience (Aesthetics) and by position and power (Individualistic).

Again, an assembly line … really? Unless her position on the assembly line gave her a view of the mountains, or allowed her to boss around everyone else on the line, this wasn’t meeting her needs.

A better fit would have been someone who appreciates systems, or who can see the direct result of the investment of their time.

Finally, let’s look at the soft skills that job required versus what Lucy brought to the table.  The job would be best served with someone strong in self-management, personal effectiveness, teamwork, and goal orientation.  Lucy, however, was more likely high in creativity and innovation, persuasion, negotiation, and futuristic thinking.

All of these are great skills, but the job needed the first set, not Lucy’s set.

Lucy was never the right person for the job.  Because of that, what did this bad hire cost the candy company (in addition to the candy she ate)?  At a minimum, there was likely recruiting time, onboarding time, training time, and then the downtime that will happen when they fire her and have to go through the entire process all over again.

The take-away is that you can prevent bad hires like this by knowing what a job needs. To do that, create a job profile. That is one tool that will pay for itself over and over again.

August 21, 2015

Do you have Roadrunner or Coyote managers?

Managers have more impact on employee engagement than anyone in the company — about 70%. To really engage employees, then, you need highly engaged Roadrunner managers connecting with employees every day.

What’s a Roadrunner manager? They are the ones who have, or can be coached to have, all five talents identified in Gallup’s State of the American Manager. They are:Image of roadrunner

  • Motivate their employees
  • Assert themselves to overcome obstacles
  • Create a culture of accountability
  • Build trusting relationships
  • Make informed, unbiased decisions for the good of their team and company.

Employees will tell you that Roadrunner managers are open and approachable. They help employees set priorities and goals, and they focus on their employees’ strengths and positive characteristics.

In other words, the Roadrunner manager (Meep-meep!) is working for you and for the employee at the same time. Meanwhile, the Coyote manager, who may have some of those talents, is likely more ego-focused.

image of CoyoteThe scary thing, according to Gallup’s numbers, is that only 3 in 10 people have this Roadrunner combination of talents, even when you throw in coaching and development.

Perhaps this explains why 65% of managers are disengaged Coyotes. And why job matching and proper development is so chart of benefits of engaged managers

There is a cycle of engagement from leadership to manager to employee. It really is up to you whether you create a positive cycle that produces winning outcomes (Roadrunner zooming down the road) or a negative cycle that allows a continuous drain on your bottom line (just like the Coyote continuously goes over the cliff, hits the wall, blows up — you get the picture…).

August 14, 2015

Imagine an eHarmony® for finding employees!

When you think about hiring new employees, in a lot of ways, it is a lot like dating (at least what I remember about dating). You are checking out potential matches, hoping to find just the right one who will commit to you.

It’s not easy, in either scenario.Jim Collins quote

If you’ve heard of eHarmony®, or similar online dating services, you know that they take a “scientific approach to matching highly compatible singles.”

What if you could do the same thing for jobs? Add some objectivity into the equation?

You can reduce the human bias that comes into play from the fact that interviewees get coached on how to interview or get in the door because they know someone who knows someone.

It’s About Objectivity

Adding objectivity, some science, will help you find an employee who actually matches the needs of the job. Bringing assessments into your hiring process enables you to do that, and it eliminates bad hires.

Here’s how it works. With a dating profile, you say you want someone who likes a certain kind of music, likes golfing versus mountain climbing, wants to travel to exotic places or prefers to stay near home, etc. For jobs, you establish a profile by having subject matter experts create a benchmark for the job with an assessment. Then you establish a profile that has either a range or specific level of skills, behaviors and external motivators that you want your ideal candidate to have.

At Your FingerTips

With the new Talent Management Plus™ system, all of this information is right there at your fingertips for every applicant you get.

Imagine the money, time, and damage to overall culture you will save when you start making the right hire every first time.

Times a’ wastin’. Email me today to learn more about putting some objectivity into your hiring process.

July 24, 2015

Colonel Mustard in the break room with a doughnut

Three ways to make your break room generate ROI

What’s your break room like?

Is it the place where doughnuts or other treats occasionally show up when someone is feeling generous?

Does it have that standard, sterile kitchen feel with a few tables and chairs and the obligatory

Photo of generic break room

Traditional break room (Photo from CoffeeAmp)

bulletin board for legal notices?

OR have you realized that your break room is a space that could bring you a tremendous return on investment if you use it as an employee engagement laboratory?

Absolutely! What better place in your company than the informal space of the break room to encourage cooperation (and smashed silos), impromptu problem solving, and provide creative downtime.

By creating a space that attracts and welcomes employees, your ROI grows through:

  • Higher productivity
  • Stronger customer satisfaction
  • Increased innovation

Of course, this won’t just magically happen if you slap some pretty paint on the walls.  For this to work, there has to be an overall mindset about what a break room is about AND what being productive means.

This doesn’t work if there is an expectation that employees are only productive when “chained” to their workstations.

This ONLY works when employees are encouraged, even urged, to refresh their minds and bodies throughout the day so that when they are “working,” they are at peak performance.  And when they are “on break,” they have opportunities to collaborate, to stimulate their minds, and to truly refresh their brains.

What changes would you make in your break room to increase your ROI?

If you have a great break room, send me a photo or post it here so I can share it with others!

April 6, 2015

Three things to know about emotion to communicate better with your team

If you don’t already do this naturally, try for a couple of days to be an silent observer of the people around you.  It is quite informative to watch the interactions of the people you work or live with, the ebb and flow of emotions that happen from moment to moment.

Over the recent busy holiday weekend, I mentally cataloged a couple of interactions to share with you. thingsastheyareOne involved two young women who are very, very close emotionally. Both have very chatty personalities, but one, we’ll call her Rachel, is a very driving, dominant individual, quick to anger.  The other, Stacie (wink, wink),  is much more laid back, more of a steady-state person, whose preference is not to show emotion at all.

When Stacie was feeling down after getting some bad news, Rachel, who was ready to have fun, tried to push her to cheer up.  The problem happened when Rachel wanted Stacie to immediately pop out of her mood.  She wasn’t giving Stacie’s emotions any validation. And when Stacie PUSHED back, very atypical, the day was headed for the bottom.  Fortunately, the two took a breather, put space between themselves, and let the harsh moment dissipate.  The day got back on keel.  But the two never talked about what happened between them.

In this scenario, there are very concrete things these two could have known and done to help them  avoid the situation, or at least come to a more healthy resolution:

1. Know the “go to” emotion for each of their behavioral styles.  Each of four behavioral styles has a specific emotion associated with it.  Knowing that gives you an immediate clue to the ways you should and should not be communicating with that individual.

2. Check body language for specific signs of irritation and stress, including becoming defensive, easily aggravated, shaky, pupils dilating, etc.

3. Verbally take the other person’s emotional temperature.  When things first start to go off the rails, get a clear reading of the other person’s emotional state.  Establish some sort of scale and ask the person to rate how emotionally clear or cloudy they are feeling.  Then respect that.

What do you do to ensure your emotions don’t interfere with your communication?

March 9, 2015

The Magic to Motivation

The things that motivate us AND de-motivate us show up in the workplace a lot more than we may realize.  Gallup’s most recent employee engagement survey tells us that 63% of employees worldwide are not engaged and only 13% are actively engaged.  That makes it critical for leaders to pay attention to employee motivation.employeeengagement

Have you ever worked on a huge project and the project manager promised you major reward at the end?  Problem was, the reward was just didn’t get your motor running!  Why not?  Most likely, the reward was something that the project manager found motivating, so he or she assumed just figured that everybody else would want it, too.  For example, maybe this time, the reward was a big fat chunk of money, but money isn’t your motivator.  You are one of those people who is constantly seeking knowledge and you have been begging for some extra time off to take some training.  That would have been a stellar reward for you.

Think about that big project that they offered special recognition by the CEO, but you remember thinking “a whole lot of good that’s going to do me!” You were wishing for, actually had been begging for, the team work space to be painted and brightened up, but no one was listening. Having a pleasant work environment means so much more to you than lots of “atta girls.”  Errr, so frustrating.

What’s going on here?  In these situation, the leaders are offering carrots based on their own personal motivators.  They haven’t taken the time to understand what motivates the employees.  Just as important, they don’t know what de-motivates their employees.

How about you?  Are you looking outside yourself when you look for those carrots to motivate your team?



Scroll to top