The Changing Work Environment Part III: Providing Choice

dilbert1

“I believe happiness is a choice. Some days it is a very difficult choice.” – Steve Gleason 

Our three part series on the changing work environment was inspired by findings in the Staples Advantage Workplace Index (http://bit.ly/1ULVQr7). Findings in the report reveal that half of workers state feeling overworked is motivating them to look for a new job, 62% say wellness programs are a selling point when looking for a new job, but only 35% actually have a wellness program at their current job, 3 out of 4 respondents say their employers don’t give them access to the latest technology to do their job efficiently. You can read more by clicking on the link and reading the full report.

In part III of our series ( In part one we talked about providing flexibility and in part two last week we discussed providing autonomy) on the changing work environment we discuss the importance of providing choice. Employees are not willing to give 100% to a job where they feel trapped. They want opportunity and they want choice.

What does it look like?

In the changing work environment, employees want to know that they have choices. In this new environment management is not dictating ‘how’ everything gets done. Employees are given the ‘what’ and the ‘why’, and then they are given the opportunity to make decisions and design how their work gets done to meet the goals of the company. In addition, they are empowered with the training and resources they need to be successful.

Why is it important?

Employees want to know that they are making a valuable contribution to something bigger than themselves; they want to feel truly invested in their work. When employees have choices, they have a sense of control which shows them that their input is valuable. It tells them they are trusted and are important.

Not long ago Glassdoor published its list of the Best Places to Work 2016 (http://bit.ly/1lN0I2p).  Topping the list was Airbnb. An employee review for MindBody (#14) in the Glassdoor article writes, “It’s a culture of happiness! I’ve never been in such a positive environment. Management encourages you not only professionally, but in personal aspects of life too. So thankful to work for such an amazing company!” That sounds to us like a company that understands the value of their employees and wants them to succeed.

How do we do it?

Providing choice requires management to let go of the control they have clung to in the past. Old habits can be hard to break; here are six ACTION steps to help you think through your current operations and to embrace providing choice.

Accountability – The ebb and flow of an organization that provides flexibility, autonomy, and choice hinges on accountability. Regardless of what the organizational structure looks like or how teams are assembled it all comes down to mutual accountability if it is going to succeed.

Collaborate – In this changing work environment collaboration may take on a new look as well. Your box approach to thinking may now look more like a circle that makes room for more people, new ideas, and greater potential. If your workplace environment changes so too must the way you work with others also change.

Train – John Maxwell said, “The people’s capacity to achieve is determined by their leader’s ability to empower.” This is so true in the changing work environment. Training is essential not just for your success today but how you will look and operate five years from now and beyond.

Inspire – What your people need to see as they embrace a new work environment is greater ownership, greater opportunity for growth, and more control over their future. Inspire your people to the possibilities before them and remind them of it often.

Opportunity – The changing workplace environment can be frightening for people who have no voice in the direction they are going or have not bought-in to the vision. If one’s opportunity is not clear to them they will be the last to embrace change. Be vocal, be clear, and be out front with the opportunities that exist and for the ones they will create.

Now – The time for creating this new workplace environment is now. And we would like to remind you of what we advised in part one of this series. Take baby steps and tackle one or two small changes that you can implement right away. Be intentional about your changes and make them gradually. Include your people when charting the course. But get started!

 

© 2016 Doug Dickerson and Liz Stincelli

 

lizLiz Stincelli is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. She holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. Learn more about Liz by visiting her website: http://www.stincelliadvisors.com

 

 

Posted in Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Changing Work Environment Part II: Providing Autonomy

Cubes - 267 - AUTONOMY

“The way you delegate is that first you have to hire people that you really have confidence in. You won’t truly let those people feel a sense of autonomy if you don’t have confidence in them.” – Robert Pozen

 

In part II of our series on the changing work environment we tackle the topic of autonomy. Gone are the days when employees were willing to show up at the factory, follow orders being dictated by management, collect a paycheck, and then do it all again tomorrow. Employees aren’t mindless machines and they don’t want to be treated as such. 

What does it look like?

In the changing work environment, employees are demanding more autonomy. In this new environment, employees have control over how their own work tasks get accomplished. They are trusted and encouraged to make decisions and to act in the best interest of the organization without being micromanaged.

Why is it important?

Providing autonomy shows employees that you have confidence in their judgment and ability. This inspires employees to take ownership of their work. When employees have control over their own work they are more satisfied, they take pride in the contribution, and they become loyally invested in the success of their team, department, and organization.

How do we do it?

Many management teams struggle to let go of the control they have become accustomed to for all of these years. Old ways and mindsets can be hard to overcome. Here are six ACTION steps to help you think through your current operations and to embrace autonomy.

Acknowledge the challenge of autonomy. It is critical here to understand the difference between the autonomy of the work while remaining true to the mission and vision of the organization. The two are not in competition but when done right are a compliment to one another.

Coalesce around the best ideas for autonomy. The mistake leaders make is that their idea of how it looks should prevail. But as one company leader explained it, “The one who sweeps the floor picks the broom.” How autonomy looks in your organization should be determined by those closest to the work.

Tweak along the way. Ideas that look good on paper may not play out well in reality. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board as you flesh out what is and is not working for you. There is no “one size fits all” approach for how autonomy works. The key here is to be flexible and be willing to make adjustments as needed.

Invest in their success. Greater autonomy in the workplace is reinforced by leaders who have the backs of their people by empowering them and setting them up for success. Invest in your people. Put the tools and resources in their hands they need to succeed. The greater the investment the greater the autonomy. Be generous.

Ownership is a requirement. Embracing the autonomous workplace is great. But now comes the buy-in that makes it all work. Ownership, like loyalty, is a two-way street. In this model ownership is shared, trust is mutual, expectations are clear, and outcomes are measured. It’s an “all-in” attitude that if not fully subscribed to will derail all efforts of a truly autonomous workplace. Without ownership there is no autonomy.

Next Step – In order to attract and retain the best talent, your organization must offer a level of autonomy. You must provide your employees with the training and resources they need to be successful and then you must step aside and allow them to do their jobs. Show them that you have confidence in them. But, you can’t stop here. Once you have acknowledged the attitudes that are holding you back; have intentionally created a workplace culture; shown employees that you trust them; have identified incremental changes you can make; and observed the impact of those changes, it’s time to take the next step.

Be on the lookout next week for part III of The Changing Work Environment Series: Providing Choice.

 

© 2016 Doug Dickerson and Liz Stincelli

 

lizLiz Stincelli is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. She holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. Learn more about Liz by visiting her website: http://www.stincelliadvisors.com

 

Posted in Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Leaders Without Borders Coaching Program

Front Cover_Leaders Without BordersNew Session Begins September 12th!

Across the country students are preparing to go back to school.  But what about you? Now is the time to enroll in my 9 week leadership coaching program! Check out the information below. Space is limited so the time to act is now!

The Leaders Without Borders Coaching Program

After more than thirty years in leadership positions I am pleased to announce to you an opportunity for one-on-one leadership training and coaching for you or your team.

Taken from the pages of my book Leaders Without Borders: 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders, (Foreword by Mark Sanborn) I bring home the leadership skills you and your team need to move forward.

Here are two realities you are up against:

  • A recent Gallop Business Journal survey not long ago reported that only 30% of U.S. employees (and 13% worldwide), are engaged. Getting your employees engaged and building a corporate culture that thrives can be a challenge. How do you think that type of engagement impacts your place of business? How different would things look if that number increased for you?
  • Writing in the Harvard Business Review, John Zenger, CEO of the Zenger/Folkman leadership development consultancy reports that the average age of supervisors receiving any type of leadership training was 42. More than half were between 36 and 49. Less than 10% were under 30; less than 5% were under 27. Think about that for a moment. If they are not entering leadership training programs until they are 43, they are getting no leadership training at all as supervisors. And they are operating within that company untrained, on average, for over a decade.

But what is a leader like you to do? Your obstacles to this dilemma are two-fold – time and money. Where do you find the time to send your team members to get the training they need? While the desire may be there, often time the resources you need are not. Conferences can be pricey once you factor in registration fees, travel, and hotels, and lost productivity being away from work. Many well-meaning leaders like yourself who would like to empower their employees don’t have the access to leadership training that can help because of these two factors—but, help is on the way!

My book, Leaders Without Borders: 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders, serves as the textbook for the 9 week leadership training course you need. The nine chapters address foundational leadership principles that will enrich and awaken the leadership skills that can improve your people both personally and professionally. The nine leadership principles outlined in the book are: passion, priorities, optimism, teamwork, attitude, authenticity, loyalty, kindness, and legacy.

Here is how it works:

*Upon registration, participants will receive a copy of the book. Participants will be assigned one chapter per week to read and will be emailed a set of corresponding questions, outside reading assignments, videos to watch, and evaluations to work on.

*Participants will have a one hour session with me each week live via Google Hangout/Skype where I will serve as their personal leadership coach to discuss their assignments and develop their skills.

Upon completion of the course each participant will receive a certificate and a copy of my latest book, It Only Takes a Minute: Daily Inspiration for Leaders on the Move, a daily motivational leadership read for the entire year.

As stated before, workshops and conferences can be expensive. My desire is to make leadership training not only effective and empowering, but affordable. My desire is to awaken the leadership skills within your people, to close the engagement gap within your organization, and help you get a jumpstart on the training for everyone in your organization. Simply put, I want to add value to you and your team!

The leadership training you desire coupled with the convenience of not having to travel off-site, and equipping your team and raising up leaders is now within your reach!

Now is the time to take action and enroll as an individual or members of your team.

Email me today at: managementmoment@gmail.com or call  843.509.5104 for pricing and scheduling.

Posted in Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Changing Work Environment Part I: Providing Flexibility

Flexibility 1

“To make flexibility work, it is not only necessary to change our attitude about who is a good worker and who is not, but we have to train managers at all levels to recognize the difference between the number of hours worked and the quality of work produced.” – Madeleine M. Kunin

Recent findings in the Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index (http://bit.ly/1ULVQr7) reveal exciting and challenging trends in the modern workplace. The changing work environment sees fewer employees working standardized hours. Technology now allows employees to work from any location. The global economy requires the ability to conduct business on a non-standardized schedule.

That the workplace is changing comes as no surprise to those paying attention. Preparing for it can be a challenge. It is in this context we begin a three part series that explores this topic in hopes of raising awareness and starting a conversation about solutions.

What does it look like?

While this is not a new concept for many organizations it is nonetheless an approach whose time has come and it deserves a second look. In the changing work environment employees are encouraged to work, within reason, a schedule that works for them. The emphasis is more on task accomplishment than on hours in the office.

The shift toward this approach, like any new idea or concept, begins with the leadership of the organization. New attitudes must be embraced if new ways of competing in the global economy is going to work for you. In short- flexibility must give way to adaptability which in turn gives way to greater productivity.

Why is it important?

A good workforce is the foundation of every successful business. It’s no longer about work-life balance. Employees want work to fit seamlessly into their personal lives. If you want to attract and keep high performing employees, you are going to have to provide the flexibility they desire.

The Staples Index revealed that burnout and employee engagement is a major concern among employees. When asked what would help turn that around the number one response was workplace flexibility. While we embrace a strong work ethic and productivity, perhaps organizations would be better served not by employees who are burned out but by employees who are empowered and inspired by greater flexibility and control over their schedules.

How do we do it?

What if we change the way we look at employees, from working for us as an employee, to working with us more like an independent contractor?

In many organizations righting the course can take time. Old ways and mindsets can be hard to overcome. Here are six ACTION steps to help you think through your current operations and to embrace flexibility.

Acknowledge – It’s time to bring your team together and acknowledge attitudes and mindsets that are holding you back. It’s time to take an honest look at what is and is not working. It’s time to quit clinging to traditions and think about the future.

Create – The flexibility you desire and production goals you set are the ones you create with intentionality. What will your future look like? What will employee engagement in your workplace culture look like? It looks like what you create!

Trust– Show your employees that you know that you have hired the right people for the right positions. Let them see through your actions that you trust them to operate in the best interest of the organization without the need for micromanagement. Give them the resources they need and then let them do their job.

Identify- Identify one or two small changes that you can implement right away to signal that the desire for flexibility is being recognized. Regardless of how big or small, just do it. Baby steps are acceptable. Now, identify one or two “old ways” of doing things and let them go. Identifying change and creating change can be done, and is best done incrementally.

Observe – How are employees responding to the incremental changes you are implementing? How is your culture being impacted? What should your next step be? Ask employees for their input; involve them in the development of the plan going forward.

Next Step – Offering flexibility is a great starting point for attracting the best talent and staying agile in the changing work environment. But, you can’t stop here. Once you have acknowledged the attitudes that are holding you back; have intentionally created a workplace culture; shown employees that you trust them; have identified incremental changes you can make; and observed the impact of those changes, it’s time to take the next step.

Be on the lookout next week for part II of The Changing Work Environment Series: Providing Autonomy.

 

© 2016 Doug Dickerson and Liz Stincelli

 

lizLiz Stincelli is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. She holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. Learn more about Liz by visiting her website: http://www.stincelliadvisors.com

 

Posted in Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Six Threats Every Leader Will Face

threats

Photo Credit: Google Images

Strong convictions precede great actions. – James Freeman Clarke

The legendary bare-knuckles boxing champion John L. Sullivan was confronted by a runt of a man who, suffering from the effects of too much drink, challenged the burly champion to a fight. Sullivan, who once battled toe-to-toe with an opponent for 75 rounds, growled, “Listen, you, if you hit me just once — and I find out about it …” The Champ didn’t need to finish the sentence!

Hang around in leadership long enough and you will have your share of challenges and threats. While they may not be physical in nature, threats to your leadership and how you handle them is important. Some threats are obvious while others can seem rather innocent. If left unchecked they can threaten your effectiveness going forward.

Identifying the threats to your leadership is helpful if you are going to succeed. Here are six common ones. Which one is the most pressing to you?

The threat against your values.

Your values and character are the cornerstones of your leadership. Threats against your character will come and how you deal with it will make you or break you. Don’t take threats to your values lightly. Be diligent and accountable. Make sure that your values are clear and non-negotiable.

The threat against your time.

One of the largest challenges you will face as a leader is time management. If you are not intentional about the priorities of your day or take ownership of your time then someone else will. If something is a priority to you then it should be a priority in your schedule. From family, children, work, deadlines, meetings, etc…set your pace, set your priorities, and stick to it.

The threat against your expectations.

Expectations fuel your dreams and goals. Threats to your expectations surface when people see the obstacles and not the opportunities. Threats to your leadership occur when people opt for what’s safe instead of what’s hard. Bring these people up to your level of expectations if you can but never retreat.

The threat against your personal growth and development.

If you are not growing as a leader you are in decline as a leader. Personal growth and development is fundamental to good leadership. When you commit to grow and develop it will expand your horizons and will open up a whole new arena of possibilities. Never stop growing.

The threat against your health.

Leaders are busy and are often under a great deal of stress. Don’t allow the responsibilities of your leadership to cause you to neglect your health. A healthy diet with exercise is important not only to your physical health but it will keep you refreshed mentally and emotionally. In addition, your spiritual health is not one to neglect either. When you can tap in to the inspiration that your faith provides it can replenish your heart and mind. Healthy leaders are productive leaders.

The threat against yourself.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Often it’s not the jerk down the hall that’s my greatest threat- it’s the one in the mirror. When my body is tired and my attitude stinks then the potential to make a mess of things is magnified. Can you relate? As you work on the fundamentals of your leadership remember that first and foremost it’s an inside job. Before you can lead others you must learn to lead yourself.

What do you say?

 

© 2016 Doug Dickerson

 

 

Posted in Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Week in Costa Rica

Our amazing team at one of the local schools.

Our amazing team at one of the local schools.

Lose yourself in generous service and every day can be a most unusual day, a triumphant day, an abundantly rewarding day! – William Arthur Ward

I had the joy and privilege of spending the past week in Costa Rica. I led a team of some of the most amazing people to work with Give A Book that my brother, Carl, has operated there for nearly 20 years.

Our team, though small in number by design, was comprised of people from all walks of life including some special friends from Canada.

We had the opportunity to go into six schools to distribute books, love on the children, and see the world through their eyes. And what a beautiful world it is.

The children were so proud to get new books.

The children were so proud to get new books.

IMG_2303

Team members reading and interacting with the children in their classrooms.

Playing with the children at one of the schools.

Playing with the children at one of the schools.

The children, teachers, and workers in the schools were so appreciative of the books and welcomed us like heroes. Give a Book has also formed great partnerships with Peace Corp volunteers to assist in the efforts in the local schools. The Rotary Club has long been a supporter of the foundation’s literacy initiatives.

It was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who said, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” And that is the driving force behind the work of Give a Book. Instilling a love of reading and literacy over the past twenty years has enlarged the lives of countless children and has helped hundreds of schools.

The smile on this little girls face says it all.

The smile on this little girls face says it all.

Yes, they love to be in selfies!

Yes, they love to be in selfies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The experience with Give a Book is quite unique. Each trip is customized to not only meet the objective of the organization but to place you in a specific region of the country where you’d like work. That can be in the Central Valley region, along the coast, or out in more remote locations including the Rain Forest.

In addition to being involved in the schools there is the special opportunity to be immersed in the local culture that most people never see.

Then of course there is the opportunity to take in the most spectacular sights and scenery you can feast your eyes upon. From the Poas volcano, Doka Coffe Estate, the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, etc. this beautiful country will capture your heart.

At the Poas Volcano.

At the Poas Volcano.

Waterfall at the LaPaz Waterfall Gardens

Waterfall at the LaPaz Waterfall Gardens

Our team at the La Paz Waterfall Garden.

Our team at the La Paz Waterfall Garden.

My week in Costa Rica was amazing. It was not my first trip there and it won’t be my last. I am planning more.

 

 

 

 

 

Team members working in the warehouse of the Give a Book Foundation.

Team members working in the warehouse of the Give a Book Foundation.

If you are as passionate about books and literacy as I am and would be interested in being on a team with me in the future let me know. I’d love to take you. Of course, you can work directly with Carl as well.

For now, let me encourage you to visit the websites of Give a Book and the incredible work they do.

Visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/GiveABookToChildren/

On the web at: http://www.give-a-book.net/

If you’d be interested in joining me on a trip in the future email me at: managementmoment@gmail.com

To reach out to Carl about a trip for your organization email him at: Carldickerson55@gmail.com

With my brother, Carl. His heart for the children of Costa Rica and his literacy work there is truly inspiring.

With my brother, Carl, (left). His heart for the children of Costa Rica and his literacy work there is truly inspiring.

 

 

Posted in Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leadership Essentials: Communicating with Clarity

comm

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.   – Peter Drucker

A worker asked for a pay raise and got this note back from his supervisor: “Because of the fluctuation predisposition of your position’s productive capacity as juxtaposed to standard norms, it would be momentarily injudicious to advocate your requested increment.” The puzzled worker went to the supervisor and said, “Is this is about my pay raise I don’t get?” “That’s right,” said the supervisor.

As a leader one of the most important skills you will develop is communication. Unfortunately, it’s becoming one of the hardest skills to develop. The reasons for this vary. On the bright side, technology has increased our ability to communicate like never before. On the down side, conversational and social skills have waned because we prefer to text or send an email- thus avoiding actual human interaction.

Communicating with clarity is important for you as a leader. Those you lead don’t need to be like the man in the story above trying to figure out what you are saying. Here are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind going forward.

Keep it simple

Avoid as much as possible all the fancy corporate jargon. Keep it simple. Your goal here is not to impress people with your vocabulary but to inspire your team with your words and actions.

Keep it pithy

Don’t waste your people’s time with never ending meetings and chasing proverbial rabbits. The longer things drag out the more your people tune out. Have an objective, stick to it, and get going.

Be transparent

Nothing will endear your people to you more than to by being open and honest about where you are personally, where things are as an organization, and by reminding your people of the vision and the role they play in fulfilling it.

Be inclusive

Clarity is essential throughout your organization. As the leader you need to make sure everyone knows your heart and that you have their backs, and that they have all the knowledge and information they need to be successful.

Know when to speak, and speak on purpose

When communicating with your people it is important that you have a reason and purpose behind it. What you say and how you say it is important. What a team members “hears” and interprets may be very different from said and meant. Before you speak, think it through and put yourself in their shoes.

Know when to shut up

I’ve saved the most important for last. Clarity comes to us best not when we are speaking but when we are listening. The most powerful communication skill you have is your silence and your open mind. It is when you listen to your people that you have your greatest moments of clarity. Someone once said, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.” That’s great advice.

Communicating with clarity is essential to your success as a leader. Use these guidelines as starting points and build upon them. Your success as a leader depends upon it.

What tips would you add?

 

© 2016 Doug Dickerson

Posted in Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment